Iran Bans Pilgrimages to Mecca, Medina

Country also bans imports from Saudi Arabia in continued fallout

Muslim pilgrims pray near Mecca / AP


Iran barred its citizens from making holy pilgrimages to the Saudi Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina in an announcement Thursday.

The country also banned imports from Saudi Arabia, CNN reported. The move came days after Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic and economic ties with Iran after protesters in Tehran attacked the Saudi Embassy there with rocks and Molotov cocktails.

The annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, known as the Hajj, generates substantial revenues for Saudi Arabia. The country makes approximately $18 billion annually from religious tourism, many visitors coming from Iran.

An estimated 600,000 Iranians embark on holy pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia each year.

Tensions heightened between Iran and Saudi Arabia over the weekend when the Saudis announced the execution of outspoken Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The execution sparked pushback from Iranian leaders and the protests at the embassy in Tehran.

Morgan Chalfant   Email Morgan | Full Bio | RSS
Morgan Chalfant is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, Morgan worked as a staff writer at Red Alert Politics. She also served as the year-long Collegiate Network fellow on the editorial page at USA TODAY from 2013-14. Morgan graduated from Boston College in 2013 with a B.A. in English and Mathematics. Her Twitter handle is @mchalfant16.

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