TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Iran’s criticism of Riyadh’s managing the annual Hajj pilgrimage following the Mina tragedy is “playing politics” with the incident as Saudi authorities are under fire after the deadly event.
“This is not a situation with which to play politics,” Adel al-Jubeir claimed on Saturday before meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry at the UN headquarters in New York, AFP reported.
“I would hope that the Iranian leaders would be more sensible and more thoughtful with regards to those who perished in this tragedy and wait until we see the results of the investigation,” he added.
The remarks by the Saudi foreign minister came after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif deplored Saudi Arabia for its insufficient cooperation with the Islamic Republic in addressing problems facing Iranian pilgrims after the crush near Mecca, which killed hundreds, including 155 Iranians.
“It is necessary that the Saudi government take serious decisions about the mismanagement of the executive agents of Hajj (pilgrimage),” he said.
The Iranian top diplomat further criticized Saudi Arabia’s measures in the aftermath of the crush in Mina, saying, “We are not witnessing sufficient cooperation (on the part of Riyadh).
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 have been wounded in the tragic event.
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.