A senior Iranian official says former Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, who lost his life in the September crush during Hajj rituals in Saudi Arabia, died of extremely hot weather, thirst and lack of proper treatment.
The former Iranian diplomat, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, had been missing since the September 24 crush in Saudi Arabia until his body was identified following DNA testing late last month. His body was returned to the Iranian capital, Tehran, on November 27.
The crush in Saudi Arabia occurred when two large masses of pilgrims were directed by Saudi authorities toward one another and fused at a crossroads in Mina, a few kilometers east of the holy city of Mecca, as they were on their way to participate in the symbolic stoning of Satan in Jamarat.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Friday that the fate of 14 Iranian pilgrims, who went missing in the Mina crush, has not been determined yet and added that investigations are still underway.
He added that Iran is pursuing the issue through legal channels and noted that some international NGOs have compiled documents to help determine the exact causes of the incident.
Amir-Abdollahian emphasized that Iran would certainly continue with investigations to determine the fate of the missing pilgrims.
Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the incident, but officials with Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people, including 464 Iranians, lost their lives in the tragedy.
The number of the Iranian fatalities exceeds that of other countries.
Iran has criticized 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.