Saudi Arabia expels Iranian media team sent for Hajj coverage

World 19:00 29.05.2024

In a move against Iran’s attempts to politicize religious pilgrimages, Saudi Arabia has expelled six members of a media group linked to the office of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Ednews informs via Iran International.

This follows Khamenei's recent emphasis on encouraging political activities among pilgrims during this year's Hajj, raising concerns about the Islamic Republic's efforts to spread its propaganda.

Iranian media reported that the individuals were detained while filming a program in Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, a holy site in Saudi Arabia where political activities are strictly prohibited. They were dispatched by an office controlled by Khamenei that deals with Hajj affairs.

The group was detained in Saudi Arabia for a week before being released and sent back to Iran, according to Iranian media reports.

The group, which includes former director of IRGC-linked Ofogh TV Salim Ghafouri, Shafi' Sho'lekar, Mehdi Mo'ayedi, Mehdi Amiri, Pouria Soleimanzadeh, and Alireza Taban, were reportedly sent to Dubai on Tuesday evening and arrived in Iran the following day.

The head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Peyman Jebelli personally welcomed the team at Tehran’s airport and confirmed that the six members were sent back to Iran following the intervention of Saudi authorities.

Jebelli said he was unaware of the reason for the arrests, but noted that the group had been expelled from Saudi Arabia without performing the Hajj pilgrimage.

He also stated that Iranian authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Supreme Leader's Representative for Hajj Affairs, and the Iranian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, had been following up on the matter.

Khamenei's military adviser: "Iran can respond to the US across the seas" - VIDEO

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