Iranians to Take Part in Annual Mecca Pilgrimage Despite Tensions With Saudis

Iran boycotted the 2016 hajj after a stampede and crush of pilgrims the previous year killed at least 2,426 people

A Muslim worshipper prays during on the 27th day of Ramadan at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia on June 22, 2017.
Amr Nabil/AP

Iran will allow its citizens to take part in this year's hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina 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.