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Over 5,700 Iranians perform Umrah for the first time after 10 years

The Saudi ambassador to Tehran, Abdullah bin Saud al-Anazi, along with several Iranian officials, was present at the airport to see off the first group of pilgrims on Monday.

Iranian Muslims embarked on their annual Umrah pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia on Monday, marking the end of nearly a decade-long prohibition due to disagreements between Tehran and Riyadh.

According to the official news agency IRNA, “The first group of Umrah pilgrims departed from Iran through the Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran.”

This pilgrimage became possible after Tehran and Riyadh decided to re-establish relations and reopen their embassies, mediated by China last year. This group of Iranians undertaking the pilgrimage marks the first such instance in over nine years.

Iranians were previously barred from performing Umrah but were allowed to return for the Hajj pilgrimage last year.

The rupture in relations between the two countries stemmed from attacks on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran during protests against Riyadh’s execution of the Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

In recent months, Iranian state media announced that pilgrims would be able to travel to Mecca for Umrah, although they attributed repeated delays to technical issues. IRNA reported that a total of 5,720 Iranian Umrah pilgrims were expected to travel to Saudi Arabia this year.

The Saudi ambassador to Tehran, Abdullah bin Saud al-Anazi, along with several Iranian officials, was present at the airport to see off the first group of pilgrims on Monday.

Unlike Hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam and occurs on specific dates based on the lunar calendar, Umrah can be performed at any time of the year.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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