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Iran's Zarif Accuses Saudi Authorities Of 'Bigoted Extremism'

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused Saudi authorities of "bigoted extremism" in a war of words over Iran's exclusion from this year's hajj pilgrimage.

"Indeed, no resemblance between Islam of Iranians and most Muslims, and bigoted extremism that Wahhabi top cleric and Saudi terror masters preach," Zarif tweeted late on September 6.

The comments came after Saudi Arabia's top cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, said Iranians -- who are predominantly Shi'a -- were "not Muslims."

The Saudi cleric was himself responding to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's criticism of the Sunni-ruled kingdom's management of the Islamic holy sites of Mecca and Medina.

Iran says it is not sending any pilgrims on this year's hajj beginning September 10 after talks with Saudi officials about security failed.

At least 2,297 pilgrims were killed in a stampede at the pilgrimage in 2015, with Iranians making up the bulk of the victims.

With reporting by AFP