Saudi Arabia chides Iran for slamming Riyadh’s handling of Hajj
Saudi Arabia has rejected Iran’s criticism of Riyadh’s handling of the Hajj rituals following a deadly crush during the religious rites in Mina outside the holy city of Mecca.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir accused Iran of “playing politics” with the tragedy, claiming his country sets aside “tremendous resources” to manage the Hajj rituals and ensure the safety of Hajj pilgrims, according to AFP.
At least 136 Iranian pilgrims have so far been confirmed dead in the crush during the Hajj rites on September 24, which claimed the lives of over 2,000 people, according to the head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization. Saeed Ohadi noted Saturday that 102 Iranian pilgrims have also been wounded and 344 others are still missing.
The top Saudi official, however, alleged that those responsible for the tragedy will be taken to task.
“And we will reveal the facts when they emerge. And we will not hold anything back. If mistakes were made, [those] who made them will be held accountable,” Jubeir said.
He called on Iran to “wait until we see the results of the investigation.”
He then added that Riyadh will try to keep such incidents from happening again.
“And we will make sure that we will learn from this and we will make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
Some two million people are currently in Mecca for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage.
Around 360 pilgrims lost their lives during the same ritual in Mina back in January 2006.
The recent tragedy occurred days after a massive construction crane collapsed onto Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 people and leaving over 200 others wounded.