The first bodies of Iranians killed in a stampede at the Haj arrived home from Saudi Arabia yesterday.
Speaking at the repatriation ceremony, Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, said that the tragedy was a “big test” for everyone.
Iran has accused Saudi Arabia of incompetence in its handling of safety at the hajj, souring relations already strained by the civil war in Syria.
However, the Saudi publication AsSharq al-Awsat appeared to lay the blame on Iranian pilgrims for the catastrophe, saying that a group of 300 Iranian worshipers had set off too early and this had led to a collision with other pilgrims.
According to PressTV, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “Saudi Arabia failed to fulfill its duties concerning the desperate wounded (pilgrims)”. Thirteen days after the crane collapsed, more than 700 people were killed in a stampede at Mina.
An Associated Press count based on figures provided from 15 of the 180 countries who sent pilgrims on the hajj this year indicates that at least 1,036 pilgrims died in the disaster.
“When required, we have used the language of diplomacy“.
“You just find soldiers gathered in one place doing nothing”, said 39-year-old Egyptian Mohammed Hasan who was a witness of the incident.
He expressed the hope that Saudi Government would share outcome of the on-going investigations in the incident.
Saudi authorities have yet to provide a breakdown of the nationalities of the 769 Muslim pilgrims they say were killed, but many countries have announced the deaths of citizens.
This occurred mainly after Tehran seized the opportunity to call for broader Islamic management of the hajj, accusing the Saudis of failure, and later when Iran’s supreme leader demanded an Islamic probe into what actually happened.
All in all, once again, what is unfolding before the world is yet another Saudi-Iranian confrontation.
Commenting on the possibility of Roknabadi’s abduction in Saudi Arabia and his transfer to the occupied Palestinian territories, Qashqavi said that the issue was a speculation, adding that such a claim can be neither confirmed nor rejected.
Emir Sanusi on his part commended the kingdom for sustaining the relationship with Nigeria and the efforts rendered so far on the Jamarat incident and also on the other efforts to ease hajj rites’ performance by pilgrims.