Saudi mustn’t allow Hajj tragedy to become political issue: Iran

We hope that cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia will continue to determine the fate of others who went missing in Mina, FM spokesman Jaber Ansari said.

Iran says Saudi Arabia must not allow the deadly human crush during this year’s Hajj rituals in Mina, near the holy Saudi city of Mecca, to turn into “a major political issue.”

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari made the remarks while speaking to reporters in Tehran on Friday on the sidelines of a funeral procession for the former Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi who died in the Mina incident.

Roknabadi had been missing since the September 24 crush in Saudi Arabia until recently, when his body was identified after DNA testing. The Iranian diplomat’s body was returned to the capital early on Friday and was laid to rest after a funeral procession attended by Friday prayers.

“We hope that cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia will continue to determine the fate of others who went missing [in Mina] and that [Riyadh] does not turn this matter into a major political issue,” Jaber Ansari said.

He said that the fate of some missing Iranians has not been determined yet, adding, “The Saudi government has the humanitarian, political and legal responsibility” in this regard.

Jaber Ansari emphasized that Iran would do all it has in power, within the framework of its relations with Saudi Arabia and its regional and international potential, to restore the rights of the victims and those missing in the Mina crush and to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

The Iranian spokesperson said the Islamic Republic would adopt necessary political and legal follow-up measures over the Hajj tragedy.

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Iran has censured Saudi Arabia for failing to responsibly carry out its duties during Hajj, saying Riyadh’s incompetence in handling safety at the rituals caused the deadly incident.

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