Iran leader demands Saudi Arabia apologise for hajj deaths
Crush outside Mecca killed 769 worshippers performing the annual pilgrimage
An aerial view of the Masjid al-Haram holy mosque and the Kaaba at its centre, Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. Photograph: EPA
An aerial view showing part of Mina tent city in Mecca. Photograph: EPA
Muslim pilgrims walk on a bridge as they head to cast stones at pillars symbolizing Satan during the annual haj pilgrimage in Mina. Photograph: Reuters
Rescue workers carry the body of a Muslim pilgrim after a stampede at Mina, outside the holy Muslim city of Mecca, killed 769 pilgrims from around the world. Photograph: Reuters
Iran’s supreme leader has said Saudi Arabia should apologise for a crush outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca that killed 769 worshippers performing the annual haj pilgrimage, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website said on Sunday.
“This issue will not be forgotten and the nations will pursue it seriously. Instead of accusing this and that, the Saudis should accept the responsibility and apologize to the Muslims and the victims’ families,” the Ayatollah was quoted as saying.
Over 300 other Iranians remain unaccounted for, including former ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi, Fars news agency reported.
“The Islamic World has a lot of questions. The death of more than 1,000 people is not a small issue. Muslim countries should focus on this,” Mr Khamenei said. Other Iranians officials have also alleged the total death toll is more than 1,000.
The disaster happened when two large groups of pilgrims collided at a crossroads in Mina, a few kilometres east of Mecca, on their way to performing the “stoning of the devil” ritual at Jamarat.
Iran has summoned the Saudi charge d’affairs three times to ask Riyadh for more cooperation over the incident.
Parliament is meeting behind closed doors to decide how Iran should pursue this incident legally.