Iran to Pursue Fate of Missing Pilgrims through ICRC
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian reaffirmed Tehran’s resolve to follow up on the fate of the Iranian pilgrims still missing after recent deadly crush in Mina, Saudi Arabia, through international bodies.
A September 24 crush in Mina, which happened when pilgrims from around the world were performing the Hajj rites, killed about 7500 Hajj pilgrims, including 464 Iranians. Several Iranian pilgrims, including the country’s former ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi, are still unaccounted for after the deadly crush.
Amir Abdollahian on Thursday stressed that the foreign ministry will seriously pursue the fate of these pilgrims.
Referring to the missing diplomat, Amir Abdollahian noted that during the recent negotiations between Iranian Hajj officials and Saudi authorities in Jeddah, the issue of Roknabadi’s fate was raised once again.
The issue was also reminded to Saudi envoy in Tehran for the umpteenth time, he said, adding that the foreign ministry is also pursuing the issue internationally through the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
“Saudi Arabia is responsible for the Mina tragedy, and should accept all the consequences, including legal ones,” Amir Abdollahian added.
Earlier on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had underlined that identifying the culprits, taking measures to restore the victims’ rights, and planning for appropriate moves to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies in Hajj pilgrimage in the future are on the foreign ministry’s agenda.
Saudi authorities have come under fire for their inability to ensure the safety of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who converge on Mecca every year.
The September 24 tragedy came nearly two weeks after tens of Hajj pilgrims were killed in another tragic incident in Mecca.
On September 11, a massive construction crane crashed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque in stormy weather, killing at least 107 people, including 11 Iranians, and injuring 201 others.