Saudi Arabia And Iran In War Of Words Ahead Of Hajj Pilgrimage

Negotiations between the two countries regarding security arrangements for this year's Hajj collapsed in May, leading Iran to declare that it will not send its citizens on the pilgrimage that begins at the end of this week.

The bitter exchange will deepen the long-running rift between the Sunni kingdom and the Shia revolutionary power.

In response, the Saudi Grand Mufti said Khamenei's comments were "not surprising", as the Iranians are the descendants of the Zoroastrians, a religious group that had assimilated elements of Islam and Christianity before being conquered by the Arabs.

"The heartless and murderous Saudis locked up the injured with the dead in containers - instead of providing medical treatment and helping them or at least quenching their thirst", Khamenei said on his website.

"We have to understand that they are not Muslims. main enemies are the followers of Sunnah (Sunnis)", the cleric was quoted as saying, remarks republished by the Arab News.

Diplomatic ties were resumed in 1991, but relations have deteriorated in recent years, particularly over the countries' support for opposing sides in the Syrian and Yemeni wars.

Khamenei met families of Iranians killed in last year's disaster on Wednesday and called for a fact-finding committee to investigate the cause of the crush.

In return, Saudi Sheikh Abdel Aziz al-Cheikh stated that Iranians are not Muslims and their cultures are not anything alike.

"Indeed; no resemblance between Islam of Iranians & most Muslims & bigoted extremism that Wahhabi top cleric & Saudi terror masters preach", Zarif wrote on his Twitter account.

So there really is nothing that would be done to go with Saudi Arabia to hold it accountable or other countries of the region that are supporting America's agenda.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution continued his address by posing an important question: "When a regime fails even to manage the guests of God, while earning revenues too, how could it guarantee that under similar circumstances incidents like the Mina [crush] would not happen (again)?"

Muslims of the world fully trust and acknowledge the services rendered by the Saudi government toward the Two Holy Mosques and the pilgrims, added the grand mufti. "They are trying to hijack people from all over to bring dishonour, but in fact all Islamic countries are with Saudi Arabia as it carries out its duties and responsibilities", said the minister, in comments carried by Okaz newspaper.

Speaking near Mecca's Great Mosque and clad in the traditional white robe of a pilgrim, Moussa Abdi, a member of Algeria's parliamentary foreign affairs committee, said the region must work to fix its ideological and political rifts.

"We are not alone in this world, and we face other political conflicts". We have to unite.

Khamenei has urged Muslims throughout the world to challenge the status quo in which Saudi Arabia controls the holy sites in Mecca and Medina.

Saudi officials defended their running of the pilgrimage, with Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Nayef on September 5 saying the kingdom had always provided Iranian pilgrims with access to all facilities.

What made 2015 Hajj turn into a tragic event for Iran was a host of incidents happening during Hajj ceremony and affected both Lesser and Greater Hajj pilgrimage by Iranian pilgrims.

He was due to meet later on Wednesday with the families of some of the more than 400 Iranian victims of the stampede.

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