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Saudi Arabia Criticizes Iranian Demands Over Hajj As 'Unacceptable'

Iran says that at least 460 Iranians were killed in a stampede at the hajj in Mecca last year. (file photo)

Saudi Arabia has denounced Iran's demands concerning the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca as "unacceptable" after Tehran accused Riyadh of “blocking the path to Allah.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on May 29 that Iran had demanded the right to organize demonstrations and to have privileges that "would cause chaos during the hajj" pilgrimage to Islam's holiest sites in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier on May 29, Iran’s Culture Minister Ali Jannati announced that Iranians would not take part in this year's hajj.

In 2015, more than 460 Iranian pilgrims were killed in a stampede outside Mecca that Tehran has blamed on Saudi mismanagement.

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia cut ties with Shi'ite-led Iran in January after Iranian demonstrators torched the Saudi embassy and consulate in Tehran.

Those demonstrators were protesting the execution by Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shi'ite cleric.

Based on reporting by and AFP