Zarif: Iran still pursuing Hajj tragedy

Tehran, Oct 20, IRNA – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran was still pursuing the Hajj tragedy during which hundreds of Iranian pilgrims lost their lives.
Talking to reporters at the sideline of the funeral procession of the former Iranian diplomat Ahmad Fahima who lost his life during the Hajj tragedy, he said the Saudi government and related officials have not acted responsibly and refused to take necessary actions to save lives of Hajj pilgrims.

He said that the Iranian foreign ministry took the necessary measures from the the onset of the crisis and zealously followed the task of having the bodies of martyred Hajj pilgrims home.

He said that even after the crisis, Iran has been frankly working on identifying the cause of the incident through collaboration with other Islamic countries to help prevent repetition.

As for the fate of the Iran’s ex-ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi, Zarif said that he is still missing.

Also speaking in the ceremony was the Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular and Parliamentary Affairs Hassan Qashqavi who stressed that Iranian officials have been seeking the causes that led to September 24 Hajj disaster.

The Hajj tragedy occured after two large masses of pilgrims converged at a crossroads in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca during the symbolic ceremony of the Stoning of Satan in Jamarat.

Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the fatal incident, but according to officials at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization about 4,700 people, including 464 Iranian pilgrims, lost their lives in the trageic event.

However, foreign officials put the death toll at 1,674.

The bodies of 399 Iranian victims have been repatriated so far.

Saudi Arabia has come under harsh criticism over its role in and handling of the tragic incident.