Iran-Saudi spat over fingerprinting of Ayatollah

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Dubai, Aug 7 (UNI) Iran has sharply criticised the disrespectful behaviour of Saudi police towards Ayatollah Mohammadi Reishahri, a leader of the Islamic Revolution after he and pilgrims with him were reportedly fingerprinted by Saudi security.

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki censured Saudi police for their offensive behaviour towards the Representative of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution for Haj and Pilgrimage Affairs, Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammadi Reishahri and Iranian pilgrims, Iranian news agencies reported.

Mr Mottaki described the Saudi conduct as 'unacceptable', adding that considering the close Tehran-Riyadh relations such measures are uncalled for. He said the Iranian ambassador to Riyadh would follow up on the issue.

After his weeklong visit to Saudi Arabia, Ayatollah Mohammadi Reishahri expressed concern over the disrespectful manner of Saudi police and said Iranian students had reported many instances of Saudi mistreatment.

The Saudi police started fingerprinting Iranians entering the country for Hajj rituals in August 2007. According to international laws, only travellers suspected of being criminals or terrorists can be fingerprinted.

UNI XC RJ PM1134

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