TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Tehran Tuesday and plans to partake in a ceremony due to be held later to commemorate the Iranian pilgrims killed in a recent crush in Mina, Saudi Arabia.
According to Iranian officials, over 4,700 pilgrims including at least 226 Iranians died in a Thursday crush when performing religious rites in Mina, outside of the holy city of Mecca. With the death toll rising, many pilgrims are still unaccounted for in the incident that marked the worst Hajj disaster in 25 years.
The bodies of 130 Iranian pilgrims are due to be transferred to Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport later today. A ceremony to commemorate the victims will also be held in Tehran, according to Tehran Governor General Seyed Hossein Hashemi.
President Rouhani, who was in the US city of New York to attend and deliver his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, cut short his visit and is now in Tehran to attend the ceremony.
Meantime, the first group of Iranian pilgrims arrived at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on Monday. Some 64,000 Iranian pilgrims will return home in the coming days by 218 flights to different cities throughout the country.
The Mina disaster came less than two weeks after tens of Hajj pilgrims were killed in another tragedy. 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.
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.