Publishe Date: 5:01 PM - 9/26/2015 | Print

Iran FM urges Saudi to address Hajj mismanagement

Politics - Iran has called on Saudi Arabia to adopt necessary measures to address the issue of mismanagement of the Hajj pilgrimage rituals in the wake of the Mina tragedy.

It is mandatory that Saudi officials take necessary measures regarding mismanagement on the part of those in charge of holding Hajj, and speed up the treatment of the injured, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday.

Zarif, who is currently in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, said among Tehran’s top priorities now are determining the fate of the Iranian pilgrims who are still missing, transferring the bodies of those who lost their lives in the incident and ensuring the safety of other Iranian pilgrims.

At least 136 Iranian pilgrims have so far been confirmed dead in the deadly crush of September 24, according to the head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization. Saeed Ohadi said on Saturday that 102 Iranian pilgrims have also been wounded and 344 others are still missing.

Zarif said Iran will hold talks with the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) during an emergency meeting of the group expected to be held on the sidelines of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly to discuss a better handling of the Hajj rituals.

Zarif’s message to Muslim counterparts

In a message to the foreign ministers of Muslim countries on Saturday, the Iranian foreign minister extended his condolences to Muslims and said the “painful” incident in this year’s Hajj rituals lacerated the feelings of the Islamic Ummah and put at risk the security and safety of pilgrims.

Zarif expressed hope that Saudi officials would realize their huge responsibility to hold the annual ceremony in the best possible way and recommended that the authorities use other Islamic countries’ experience in this regard.

The photo shows bodies of people crushed in Mina, Saudi Arabia, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, on September 24, 2015. © AP


Third-time summon of Saudi envoy

Also on Saturday, Iran summoned the Saudi charge d’affaires for the third time over the Mina incident to receive Tehran’s official protest.

The Islamic Republic called on the Saudi envoy to facilitate the work to follow up on the tragedy and address the fate of Iranian pilgrims.

On Friday, Iran summoned the envoy for the second time to call for the return of the bodies of pilgrims and the transfer of the wounded Iranians to medical centers in the country for treatment.

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