Saudi war on Yemen to blame for safety lapse at Hajj: Iran official

The qualitative and quantitative decline in the security standards in the Hajj played a decisive role in the catastrophe, Shamkhani said.

A senior Iranian official has criticized Saudi authorities for the failure to ensure the safety of the Hajj rituals, saying that Riyadh’s ongoing deadly war on Yemen is to blame for the deadly stampede in Mina, outside the holy city of Mecca.

“A change in Saudi Arabia’s security priorities and the deployment of elite security and police forces for the aggression against Yemen and the crackdown on the people of Bahrain and the qualitative and quantitative decline in the security standards in the Hajj played a decisive role in the catastrophe,” Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said Friday, referring to the Mina incident of September 24.

He said that “the mismanagement” of the Saudi government and “the incompetence” of the kingdom’s officials during the Hajj rituals are definitely among the main factors behind the Mina crush.


Iran’s investigation into Mina

Shamkhani said the Islamic Republic is determined to investigate the case and will use all its legal capacities to determine the exact cause of the tragedy.

The SNSC official said Iran is ready to help the injured pilgrims, including those from other countries.

‘Iran must be part of probe’

The Iranian Cabinet held an emergency meeting Friday to investigate the incident.

During the meeting, presided over by First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri, the latest on those killed or wounded was discussed and necessary decisions were made.

Jahangiri said the Saudi government is responsible for the lives and well-being of the pilgrims.

“Mismanagement and inexperience are evident in [causing] this incident and Saudi Arabia must be held accountable,” he said.

Jahangiri added, “The representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran should be involved in the investigation of the issue so that such incidents are not repeated in the future.”

Mina follows crane collapse

The Mina tragic event came days after a massive construction crane collapsed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing 111 people and injuring about 400 more.

Eleven Iranian pilgrims were killed and 32 injured in the crane collapse.

Separately, on September 21, a fire at a 15-story hotel in Mecca forced the evacuation of some 1,500 people. A fire also broke out at another hotel in the city days earlier, which left a number of foreigners injured.