“The Saudi Arabian government has its own regulation, tradition, culture and procedures in dealing with such cases”, Saifudin said from Mecca. “This has not allowed us enough freedom in our effort to identify” the victims.
Though the Saudi authorities had pegged the death toll at 769, confusion began after Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted on Sunday that the Saudi authorities had released photos of 1,090 pilgrims who died.
Iran has led a chorus of global criticism directed at Saudi Arabia’s response to the incident, saying its diplomats were not given access to victims until days after the stampede.
Muslim countries including Iran should dispatch experts to Saudi Arabia to investigate the fatal tragedy, Khamenei said.
Khamenei said Saudi Arabia “will not be in a good situation” if it disrespects Iranian pilgrims or fails to repatriate bodies.
The remarks came amid tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia over the conflicts in Yemen and Syria.
“Relatives, accompanying pilgrims and Hajj agents of the missing pilgrims have been requested to contact Bangladesh Hajj Mission in Makkah [room no 107, phone- 00966-(0)125413980, [email protected]]”.
A few other Iranians are still unaccounted for. In the application, the petitioner requested the court to take action against the Haj director general for “concealing facts” about the death of Pakistani pilgrims in the Mina tragedy.
“The Saudi obstinacy, playing a] blame game and shirking its heavy responsibility for the death of several thousand pilgrims of the House of God will further tarnish Saudi Arabia’s image in the world“, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham, said on Tuesday.
In Pakistan, the country’s Supreme Court said it received a citizen’s petition asking it to open an investigation into the hajj disaster. Among those killed were also 239 Iranian pilgrims. So far, no hearing has been set.
On the contrary, the Ministry of Religious Affairs has not yet updated the list of the deceased and injured on its website since September 27.
The Iranian Agency admitted its European diplomatic sources pointed out that the credibility of the “preliminary” report they had seen is yet to be confirmed, but stressed that it remains one of the possibilities that Western intelligence agencies, as well as Russian intelligence, are seriously looking into. A few died of natural causes, he said, and others are pilgrims who live in the country and performed the Hajj without legal permits.
Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.