Iran demands the release of Hajj pilgrim held in Saudi Arabia

Iran demanded the immediate release of an Iranian arrested in Saudi Arabia during the haj pilgrimage in July, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Thursday during a call with his Omani counterpart, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The pilgrimage remains one of the only areas of cooperation between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, which severed ties in 2016.

“If the Saudis do not show goodwill and release the pilgrim, Iran will naturally take countermeasures,” Mojtaba Zolnour, a member of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, was separately quoted by Fars as adding on the issue.

Some Iranian media said the man was arrested for holding a picture of Qassem Soleimani, a commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps killed in a U.S. drone strike in January 2020.

Shi’ite Muslim Iran and Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, which are locked in proxy conflicts around the region, have so far held five rounds of talks in Iraq to pursue normalisation.

Fars did not give details as to why the subject had been discussed with the Omani minister, but Oman has been a longstanding mediator between Tehran and its rivals.



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