Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, the highest religious authority in the country, said that the leaders of regional rival Iran were not Muslims and saw Sunni Muslims as their enemy.

He said this on Wednesday in Riyadh in reaction to comments by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticizing Saudi management of the hajj and suggesting Muslim countries think about ending Saudi control of the annual pilgrimage.

Al al-Sheikh said he was not surprised by the comments from Khamenei.

“We have to understand that they are not Muslims, their enmity toward Muslims is old and their main enemies are the followers of Sunnah.”

He said Iranian leaders were “followers of magus”, a term that refers to Zoroastrianism, the dominant belief in Persia until the Muslim Arab invasion of today’s Iran thirteen centuries ago.

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