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Iranian President makes Hajj pilgrimage

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Iranian President makes Hajj pilgrimage


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has joined hundreds of thousands of Muslims at the annual Hajj pilgrimage. It is the first time close US ally Saudi Arabia has invited the controversial leader.

Dressed in a traditional white Ihram signifying a state of purity, Ahmedinejad joined the ritual walk seven times around the Kaaba in Mecca.

Analysts say Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia has long been wary of its large Shi’ite Muslim neighbour, and shares western concerns about Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

On the second of the five days of rites, Muslims gathered on the plain of Arafat to pray and praise Allah.

Around two million pilgrims are in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj, the largest religious gathering in the world and an obligation which all Muslims must perform at least once if they are able to.

Many have saved for years and travelled for thousands of miles to fulfill the obligation.

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