Iran presses Saudi over more than 340 missing pilgrims
Iran urged Saudi Arabia on Saturday to locate more than 340 of its nationals still missing in the aftermath of the deadly stampede at the annual hajj pilgrimage.
So far, 136 Iranians are known to have been killed and 102 injured, said the head of Iran’s hajj organisation, Said Ohadi, in the worst tragedy in a quarter-century at the pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites in western Saudi Arabia.
Ohadi, quoted on state television, said 344 Iranians were still unaccounted for, two days after the disaster.
“The list of missing Iranians has been passed on to Saudi authorities,” Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said.
Culture Minister Ali Janati is to head a delegation to Saudi Arabia to follow up on the cases of those missing and injured in Thursday’s stampede in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca.
He will also oversee the repatriation of those killed, to take place on Monday according to local media.
Iranian leaders have condemned Saudi authorities over what they charge were flawed safety measures that led to the tragedy.
“It is not only incompetence, but a crime,” Iran’s attorney general Ebrahim Raeisi said.
“We will ask for the Al-Saud (ruling family in the Gulf kingdom) to be tried for this crime against the pilgrims before international courts,” he said, quoted by state television.
He also called for the Saudi government “to put those responsible on trial”.