Iran has barred its pilgrims from traveling to Mecca to take part in the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage after accusing Saudi Arabia of failing to guarantee the safety of its citizens.

Tensions between the two Middle East rivals have been particularly strained recently after Riyadh broke off diplomatic ties with Tehran when its embassy was stormed following the execution of a Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials refused to provide Iranian pilgrims with consular support or guarantee the security of pilgrims, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said in an interview with the Channel 3 television program in Iran.

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