Iran’s minister of culture and Islamic guidance says the Saudi regime's conduct with regard to the Islamic Republic in the aftermath of the recent deadly stampede during the annual Hajj pilgrimage violates international conventions.
In a Thursday letter addressed to the Saudi Hajj minister, Ali Jannati said the Saudi government's performance vis-à-vis Iran following the September 24 crush is in contravention of international and diplomatic norms.
He also sharply criticized Saudi Arabia for delaying the repatriation of the bodies of hundreds of Iranians killed in the stampede, noting that the Islamic Republic is resolved to pursue the matter until the fate of all pilgrims is determined.
Riyadh says 769 people were killed in the crush of pilgrims in Mina valley, located a few miles from the holy city of Mecca, while officials in Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say some 4,700 people lost their lives in the tragedy, including 465 Iranians.
Jannati also protested to Riyadh for its refusal to issue visas for an Iranian delegation set to fly to the kingdom to investigate the deadly crush.
Jannati was assigned by the Iranian government to head a special delegation to Saudi Arabia to follow up on the incident and determine the fate of Iranian nationals affected by the tragedy. However, Riyadh denied him a visa.
This year’s pilgrimage saw a host of incidents, with 109 people killed in the collapse of a giant crane in the Grand Mosque in Mecca days before the Hajj ritual started. Other incidents were also reported including a fire in the tents of Egyptian pilgrims in Mina, with no official reports of casualties. Two hotel fires also were reported earlier.
(pressTV.ir – Photo: orientalista.hu)