In a Tuesday meeting with the Saudi diplomat in Tehran, Director General of Consular Affairs of Iranian Foreign Ministry Ali Chegini warned against any delay on the part of Riyadh in identifying the missing pilgrims and transferring the bodies of the Iranians killed in the Crush in Mina to the country.
He further stressed the need for Saudi Arabia to accept responsibility for the disaster, provide grounds for rapid identification of victims and the transfer of their bodies, help in finding the missing pilgrims, treat the injured people, and apologize for its shortcomings to the Islamic community.
Chegini also reiterated the Islamic Republic’s expectation from Saudi authorities to repatriate the Iranians killed in the tragic event, saying that the families of the victims have not allowed the bodies of their loved ones to be buried in Saudi Arabia.
Iranian officials said about 4,700 pilgrims were killed in the crush in Mina on Thursday 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, at least 239 Iranian pilgrims have been pronounced dead in the disaster. This is while some 240 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.