Iran has suspended flights for pilgrims to Muslim holy places in Saudi Arabia in protest over the alleged sexual assault of two Iranian boys by Saudi security officials, Iranian Culture Minister Ali Jannati said on Monday.
“Until these guilty people are put on trial and punished, the Umrah will be stopped and Iranian flights will be suspended,” the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) quoted Jannati as saying.
Some 500,000 Iranian undertake the Umra each year. The Umra can be undertaken at anytime throughout the year, other than during the main pilgrimage, or Hajj.
The current ban excludes the Hajj, which is compulsory for able bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, if they can afford it.