Iran’s Shamkhani urges Riyadh to accept responsibility for Hajj tragedy

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani underlined that the Saudi government should accept its responsibility for a recent huge crush in Mina near Mecca, which led to the deaths of about 2,000 Hajj pilgrims.

“The Iranian nation and the Islamic world cannot simply overlook the disaster in Mina and the Saudi government should be accountable,” Shamkhani said in speech in the Iranian central city of Arak.

He further emphasized that the tragic event has its root causes in a shift in the security priorities of the Saudi regime and the deployment of its forces to Yemen as well as the coming to power of “incompetent” officials in the Arab country.

“Saudi Arabia lacks the appropriate capacity to manage the Hajj (pilgrimage)” Shamkhani said, adding that a firm decision should be taken in this regard to prevent recurrence of such bitter incidents.

About 2000 pilgrims were killed in a Thursday crush in Mina when performing religious rites. With the death toll rising, many pilgrims are still unaccounted for in the incident that marked the worst Hajj disaster in 25 years.

So far, 155 Iranian pilgrims have been pronounced dead and more than a hundred others are confirmed to have been wounded in the tragic event. This is while over 300 Iranians have gone missing.

The incident 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.

Hajj, the world’s largest annual gathering of people, has already witnessed numerous deadly crushes, fires and riots in the past.

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.

By Tasnim News Agency