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State media: Iranian president invited to hajj

By Xinhua

Tehran : Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has officially invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend the annual hajj rituals this year, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported on Wednesday.

Ahmadinejad has been invited to the hajj rituals as a “special guest,” Iran’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohammad Hosseini was quoted as saying.

But the Iranian envoy did not elaborate on the exact date of Ahmadinejad’s trip to Saudi Arabia.

This is the first time that an Iranian president was officially invited to participate in hajj rituals, according to IRNA’s report.

Ahmadinejad visited Saudi Arabia twice this year. He visited the country in March 2007 to review issues of mutual interest with senior Saudi officials.

He also went to the Saudi capital of Riyadh in November 2007 to attend the third summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Saudi Arabia has announced that the high point of the hajj, when pilgrims converge on Mount Arafat near Mecca, would take place on Dec. 18, and Eid al-Adha marking the end of the pilgrimage would be celebrated the next day.