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Iranians to take part in hajj despite tensions with Saudis

July 5, 2017 GMT

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will allow its citizens to take part in this year’s hajj pilgrimage despite soaring tensions with archrival Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency on Wednesday quotes a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ai Khamenei as saying the decision was approved last month by the National Security Council. The representative, Ali Qaziaskar, says “there is no doubt... pilgrims will participate in the ceremony magnificently.”

Iran boycotted the 2016 hajj after a stampede and crush of pilgrims the previous year killed at least 2,426 people. Iran had the highest death toll of any country, with 464 killed.

Millions of Muslims from across the world take part in the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, in Saudi Arabia.