DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s Haj and Pilgrimage Organization said on Sunday the country’s pilgrims would not attend the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage, blaming regional rival Saudi Arabia for “sabotage” and failing to guarantee the safety of pilgrims.

Relations between the two countries plummeted after hundreds of Iranians died in a crush during last year’s haj and after Riyadh broke diplomatic ties when its Tehran embassy was stormed in January over the Saudi execution of a Shi’ite cleric.

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Pilgrimage   /ˈpɪlɡrɪmɪdʒ/

A journey to a sacred place or shrine.

synonyms: religious journey, holy expedition


Haj and Pilgrimage Organization

سازمان حج و زیارت


Pilgrim    uk, us   /ˈpɪl.ɡrɪm/

a person who makes a journey, often a long and difficult one, to a special place for religious reasons


rival   /ˈraɪ.vəl/

a person, group, etc. competing with others for the same thing or in the same area:

“He beat his closest/nearest rival by 20 marks.”

“ The companies produce rival versions of the toy.”


Sabotage    /ˈsæb.ə.tɑːʒ/

to intentionally do something that stops someone from achieving what they want or stops something from developing as it should:

“At that time the western aid programs were believed to be attempts to sabotage the Russian economy.”


Plummet  Verb,     /ˈplʌm.ɪt/

to fall very quickly and suddenly:

“House prices have plummeted in recent months.”


Crush    Noun, /krʌʃ/

a crowd of people all extremely close together in an area that is too small for them

“We were scared we’d lose them in the crush.

“a crush of reporters”



to attack a place or building by entering suddenly in great numbers:

“The fortress was stormed by hundreds of soldiers.”


Execution     /ˌek.səˈkjuː.ʃən/

the legal punishment of killing someone:

“Execution is still the penalty in some states for murder.”

“ The executions will be carried out by a firing squad.”


Shi’ite    /ˈʃiːʌɪt/



Cleric    /ˈklerɪk/

a leader of any religion

“Muslim clerics”