Saudi Arabia has asked Tehran not to “play politics” with the Mina stampede killing more than 750 Hajj pilgrims. Iran earlier demanded an enquiry into the Sept. 24 tragedy.
“I believe the Iranians should know better than to play politics with a tragedy that has befallen people who were performing their most sacred religious duty,” AFP quoted Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir as saying. “The Kingdom has had a long history of spending tremendous resources to care for the pilgrimage to ensure that the pilgrims who come there have a successful pilgrimage.”
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei earlier asked Riyadh to apologize for the stampede. He accused Saudi authorities of playing a “blame game,” the ABC reported.
The Saudi minister said that the authorities would not hold anything back and reveal facts whenever possible. He also said the people responsible for any mistakes would be held accountable. “And we will make sure that we will learn from this and we will make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” he added. “I want to repeat again this is not a situation with which to play politics.”
French President Francois Hollande has told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the Hajj stampede should not worsen the relation between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic, which already share a difficult relation. Reuters referred to a diplomatic source that said Hollande offered his condolences to Rouhani over the Hajj tragedy.
Meanwhile, renowned Iranian author Sadegh Zibakalam was critical about Iran’s statements over the Hajj tragedy. He said that Iran’s statements regarding the tragedy were based on anti-Arab sentiments, Al Arabiya reported. The incident allowed several Iranians to “unload their anger onto Arabs,” he said.
The Hajj stampede killed at least 769 people, according to the Saudi health minister’s Saturday. The number of people injured in the incident has now reached 934.