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Saudi’s handling of Mina tragedy deplorable: IRIB chief

30 September 2015 22:15



The head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has slammed the way Saudi Arabia has been handling the September 24 tragedy at Mina.

The deadly incident turned Eid al-Adha, a festival for many Muslims, into mourning, Mohammad Sarafraz said in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Wednesday.

The government of Saudi Arabia has provided no explanation or justification as to what has really happened, the Iranian official said.

The head of the IRIB made the remarks during a ceremony held on the extension of the broadcasting of Iran’s Urdu-language TV channel, Sahar TV, to 24 hours. A host of officials at Iran’s state radio and television, including Mohammad Akhgari, the director of the World Service of the IRIB, were present in the ceremony.

“The government of Saudi Arabia must explain why it blocked the way of the Hajj pilgrims,” Sarafraz said, adding that such a “huge” catastrophe is unprecedented in the history of the Al Saud dynasty.

Saudi officials were expected to help and provide assistance to the pilgrims in the scorching hot weather in the holy city of Mecca and open the main entrance devised for the passage of the pilgrims during the Hajj rituals, the senior Iranian official said, adding, “But they did not cooperate, which caused a spike in the number of casualties.”

The bodies of Hajj pilgrims killed in the human crush of Mina lie on the ground near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, September 24, 2015. ©AFP

Emphasizing that the Saudi government’s behavior is “deplorable and unjustifiable,” Sarafraz stated that the death of Iranian pilgrims can be pursued under international law.

He added, “The government of Al Saud has remained tight-lipped instead of apologizing and explaining.”

Earlier in the day, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Saudi Arabia has not made good on its obligations regarding the deadly incident.

Ayatollah Khamenei added that representatives from Iran and other Muslim nations should investigate the Mina tragedy.

Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi says 239 Iranian pilgrims have so far been confirmed dead. Twenty-seven Iranian pilgrims have been wounded and 241 others remain unaccounted for.

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