Iran’s Umrah Group Arrives in Saudi Arabia After 9 Years

First group from Iran has finally arrived in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah.
Irani pilgrim in masjid al haram
Photo: jenquest

The first group of Iranian Umrah pilgrims in nine years traveled to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah on Monday, according to Iran’s official media agency, as relations between both Middle Eastern heavyweights improved.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Iranian Umrah pilgrims visited Saudi Arabia for the first time in 9 years.
  • Hajj was allowed before full diplomatic relations were restored in 2023.
  • Umrah is optional and can be performed anytime.

Iranian media reported in December that Saudi Arabia had relaxed restrictions on Iranians wishing to conduct Umrah, but flights had been delayed until today due to what Tehran described as “technical issues.”

In March 2023, China brokered an accord that restored full diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which had been broken since 2016 following Riyadh’s death of a Shia Muslim cleric and the subsequent storming of the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Irani pilgrims arrive in Madinah airport
Photo: Saudi Press Agency

Before relations were restored, Iranians could only undertake the Hajj pilgrimage, a religious requirement considered obligatory for Muslims who strive to do it once in their lives. The Hajj must be conducted at a specific time of year and is limited to strict yearly quotas.

Umrah can be performed at any time and is not considered obligatory for Muslims.

Abdullah bin Saud al-Anzi, the Saudi ambassador to Iran, was present at Tehran’s major airport during the 85 pilgrims’ goodbye ceremony.

Update (3:57 PM – April 23, 2024): Added image to the article provided by Saudi Press Agency.

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