Six Iranian state journalists are expelled by Saudi Arabia following their detentions prior to the Hajj.


Six Iranian state journalists are expelled by Saudi Arabia following their detentions prior to the Hajj.

After being held in the kingdom for about a week before to the hajj, six crew members from Iran’s state television station were ejected by Saudi Arabia, the country reported on Wednesday.

A year after Riyadh and Tehran achieved a détente facilitated by China, Saudi Arabia did not immediately acknowledge the incident. But for decades there have been disputes between the dominant Sunni and Shiite groups regarding the kingdom’s sacred places, especially in relation to the impending hajj pilgrimage.

Three crew members were taken into custody while filming a Quranic recitation at the Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in Medina, according to Iranian state TV, which initiated the arrests more than a week ago.

Iranian state journalists are expelled
Iranian state TV described the arrests as beginning over a week ago when three crew members were detained while recording a Quranic reading at the Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in Medina. It offered no detail about what sparked their detention, but said the men after “several hours of questioning” ended up held at a police detention center

It stated that the guys were detained at a police detention center following “several hours of questioning,” but it did not elaborate on the reason for their detention.

After they stepped out of a car to attend a prayer service with Iranian pilgrims, two days later, Saudi authorities detained a journalist from Iran’s Arabic-language Al Alam channel and another journalist from state TV, according to state TV. At a Medina hotel, another radio journalist was being held.

It stated that the six men were later freed and banished to Iran without having the chance to perform the hajj, a pilgrimage that all Muslims who are physically capable of doing so must undertake once in their lifetime. Iran’s Foreign Ministry and state TV both attempted to secure the men’s release before to their expulsion.

Saudi officials failed to acknowledge the occurrence right away and did not reply to an Associated Press request for comment on Wednesday.

Following the execution of well-known Saudi Shiite preacher Nimr al-Nimr, Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran, the largest Shiite Muslim nation in the world. Iran’s two Saudi diplomatic missions were attacked by enraged Iranians protesting the death.

Despite Saudi Arabia still being embroiled in a protracted conflict with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, relations were repaired last year thanks to Chinese mediation.

Iran’s attacks on commerce in the Persian Gulf and unrest during the 1987 hajj led Saudi Arabia to suspend diplomatic ties with Iran in 1988–1991. Iran prevented pilgrims from performing the hajj in Saudi Arabia as a result of the diplomatic embargo. In addition, Iranian pilgrims were temporarily prevented from doing the hajj due to the latest round of hostilities.

Iran has previously demanded that its pilgrims be permitted to organize massive demonstrations against Israel and Saudi Arabia’s ally, the United States, in a ceremony known as the “disavowal of infidels.” Approximately two million Muslims worldwide participate in the hajj, but Saudi Arabia forbids these kinds of political protests during the event.

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