Iran seriously pursuing rights of Mina crush victims: Official

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The representative of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization stressed on Saturday that Tehran is following up on an agreement with Riyadh on the compensation Saudi Arabia should pay to the families of Iranian victims of last year’s Mina crush.

Saudi Arabia has not denied the payment of the blood money, but the procedures for it should be agreed upon “so that, God willing, it would be paid to the families of these martyrs,” Hojjatoleslam Seyed Ali Qazi-Askar said.

“The legal issues related to the catastrophe are being pursued by the Iranian foreign ministry, prosecutor’s office, and Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, and people will be informed of the results,” he went on to say.

In November, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had complained about Saudi Arabia’s insufficient cooperation on restoring the rights of families of the Iranian Hajj pilgrims who lost their lives in the September crush of people in Mina, near Mecca.

The necessary measures should be taken to protect the rights of families of the victims in the Mina tragedy, Zarif said, noting that Iran is pursuing the case.

“However” the minister added “Saudi Arabia is not cooperating sufficiently.”

He said at the time that Iran was in contact with other countries whose citizens were killed in the disaster to find a way to address the issue.

According to Iranian officials, over 4,700 pilgrims, including 465 Iranians, died in a crush on September 24, 2015, in Mina. The incident marked the worst ever Hajj disaster.

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.