Ahmadinejad invited to hajj in Saudi: Iran

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been invited to perform the hajj pilgrimage by Saudi King Abdullah, in another first for the Islamic republic's leader, Iran's ambassador to Riyadh announced on Wednesday.

Ahmadinejad invited to hajj in Saudi: Iran

'King Abdullah today invited President Ahmadinejad to take part in the pilgrimage to Mecca,' Mohammad Hosseini told the student news agency ISNA.

Hosseini said Ahmadinejad would travel to Saudi Arabia at the start of next week, without giving further details.

Ahmadinejad had told a news conference on Tuesday that he would perform the Muslim pilgrimage this year, if he was invited to Saudi Arabia by King Abdullah.

His media advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who is already in Saudi Arabia, confirmed that the president had been invited to the annual pilgrimage to Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, located in western Saudi Arabia.

'It is the first time in the history of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia that the king of this country invites a president of the Islamic republic to make the pilgrimage to Mecca,' he said.

'As a result, the visit of Ahmadinejad is considered to be an important event in the relations between the two countries,' he added.

'At the moment the probability of Ahmadinejad making the visit is very high,' said an official in the office of the presidency.

Saudi Arabia has announced that the high point of the hajj when pilgrims converge on Mount Arafat near Mecca would take place on December 18, and Eid Al Adha marking the end of the pilgrimage would be celebrated the next day.

Ahmadinejad's pilgrimage would be of significance as relations between Shia majority Iran and Sunni majority Saudi Arabia have been rocky at times. It would be his third visit to the kingdom since taking office.

Relations reached an all-time low in July 1987 when 402 people, mostly Iranians, were killed in clashes between Iranians and Saudi security forces during the hajj.

Last month, Ahmadinejad publicly rebuked King Abdullah for the kingdom's participation in a US-hosted meeting between Israel and the Palestinians.

But he also became the first president of the Islamic republic to attend the end-of-year annual summit of Gulf Arab leaders that was held in Qatar earlier in December.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Aralık 2007, 12:38