Iran accuses Saudi of Hajj safety errors after stampede

By AFP
Published: September 24, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

TEHRAN: Iran accused Saudi Arabia of safety errors after at least 15 of its citizens died Thursday in a stampede that killed several hundred people during the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

The head of Iran’s Hajj organisation, Said Ohadi, said that for “unknown reasons” two paths had been closed off near the scene of the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual where the accident later took place.

Read: At least 310 pilgrims killed, 450 injured in Hajj stampede at Mina

“This caused this tragic incident,” he said on Iranian state television, giving the death toll, indicating that fatalities and casualties could rise.

Ohadi said the path closures had left only three routes to the area where the stoning ceremony was held.

“Today’s incident shows mismanagement and lack of serious attention to the safety of pilgrims. There is no other explanation. The Saudi officials should be held accountable.”

Iran’s deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Saudi Arabia’s envoy would be summoned to the foreign ministry in Tehran over the incident, in which more than 450 people were killed.

“We can in no way be indifferent to this irresponsible behaviour of Saudi Arabia. This will be dealt with through diplomatic channels,” he said on state television.

Read: PM expresses condolences for Hajj stampede victims

He also accused Saudi officials of “tactlessness” over the lack of safety measures at the Hajj and said Iran had set up a special headquarters at the accident site to support Iranian pilgrims.

“Saudi Arabian officials are responsible for this incident and they should immediately endeavour to take effective measures for managing the existing crisis and providing full security for pilgrims,” he was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Abdullah
    Sep 24, 2015 - 4:53PM

    Had it not been better if they had tried to show some grief at this moment?Recommend

  • imran
    Sep 24, 2015 - 4:55PM

    Sounds very true.Recommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Sep 24, 2015 - 5:14PM

    Damn sad. Condolences from all Indians.Recommend

  • Sonya
    Sep 24, 2015 - 5:56PM

    As most of the muslims would say it a holy incident at a holy place and those killed are fortunate to be martyred. What we don’t understand in life is the dividing line between fate and negligence, as to where one starts and the other ends. For example less people die on roads in the west more in the east! Why? Somebody must tell the Saudi authorities that they are incompetenet to manage the hajj affairs hence they should leave it those who are professionals. Recommend

  • Waqas Farooq
    Sep 24, 2015 - 11:04PM

    Can’t this Iran put a little bit focus on death of Thousands of Syrians which is more surely a man made disaster rather this politicizing the acts from Allah.Recommend

  • Das
    Sep 25, 2015 - 12:29AM

    It’s very sickening and disgusting to hear Iran using this incident to further their anti-Saudi agenda. They should be lending a helping hand and propose a joint preparation for hajj, atleast. Since 2006 no incident at hajj had taken place. Also very saddening is how the Iranian press is exaggerating the number of people that lost their lives. Terribly disappointing from the Ayatollahs.Recommend

  • Saif
    Sep 25, 2015 - 1:42AM

    But we will still be sending fighters & immo to Syria where rates are killed not humans!Recommend

  • Dallas Ali
    Sep 27, 2015 - 9:07PM

    Glad to hear that Iranian government has concerns regarding the safety of their citizens. Wish every country jumps at the safety of the Haji’s and question Saudi governments callous behavior towards the deceased.Recommend

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