Iran’s Rouhani to cut short New York visit due to Hajj tragedy

New York, Sept 26, IRNA – President Hassan Rouhani cuts his visit to UN General Assembly and will return to Tehran on Monday to take part in the ceremony to mark returning of the bodies of Iranian pilgrims who lost their lives in last Thursday stampede tragedy in Saudi Arabia, said a media official in President Office.

‘Upon arrival to New York, the president has been following up the Mina incident and the news about Iranian Hajj pilgrims who were killed or injured. He was also in constant contact with first vice president and monitored performance of the related bodies,’ said Parviz Esmaeli, deputy for communications and information at President Office on Monday.

The incident has claimed the lives of about 2,000 pilgrims from the Islamic World, including 167 Iranians, with 304 Iranian pilgrims still missing.

President Rouhani ordered formation of a special committee for expedited return of the bodies of victims and urgent treatment of the injured, Esmaeili added.

Despite of the sabotage and delays by the Saudi officials, he said, the first plane carrying the bodies of the hajj pilgrims will arrive in Tehran on Tuesday.

‘Therefore, President Rouhani canceled some of scheduled meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and will leave New York on Monday afternoon,’ Esmaeili said.