‘Saudi imprudence in Mina unacceptable’
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the scale of imprudence on the part of Saudi authorities in dealing with the recent crush that occurred in Mina near the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca is unacceptable.
“There are so many cameras in Mina, and their monitoring rooms are keeping an eye on all the streets and the whole crowd every single moment and can even take films and photos of the crowd,” said the president at a conference in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Monday.
The crush happened on September 24 after two large masses of pilgrims fused together. Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization puts the death toll from the crush at around 4,700 people, including 464 Iranians.Saudi Arabia says around 770 people have been killed.
“Such an incident happens in a country that is in possession of so many helicopters, airplanes and petro-cash; [and] there has been mismanagement at the beginning of the incident and in its aftermath,” said the president.
“[Chaos in] the first five to 10 minutes is acceptable; but, that the pilgrims were held up in the sun while being thirsty for so many hours is not acceptable,” President Rouhani said.
The president then referred to his recent speech at the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, saying he got the voice of the Iranian nation heard over the tragedy before the world’s heads of state at the international body.
He said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif – whom he called a “national hero” in Iran’s history – made every effort to follow up on the case.
Zarif made great efforts during his meetings with world political officials and the UN chief, the president said.
He said Iran will continue to follow up on the Mina tragedy.
This comes as Riyadh has downplayed the full extent of the tragedy, dismissing comments that Saudi officials’ mismanagement is to blame for the inciden
Elsewhere in his remarks, the president touched upon the agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 over Iran’s nuclear program, describing it as a “big success.”
“There is no one in the world who would say Iran was not successful in the negotiations,” President Rouhani said.