Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir accused Iran of exploiting the tragedy.
Iranian officials escalated their criticism of Saudi Arabia’s Hajj pilgrimage after at least 717 were killed in a stampede near the holy city of Mecca last week. It quoted what it called Iranian officials as saying a group of 300 Iranian pilgrims had set off to perform a ritual ahead of their assigned schedule, leading to a collision with other pilgrims.
He further demanded Saudi officials to have serious and effective cooperation with regard to identifying and determining the status of all missing Iranians in Mina incident.
President Hassan Rouhani appealed for United Nations mediation with the Saudis, in a meeting with UN chief Ban Ki Moon in New York, state television reported.
Saudi authorities have been criticised for a lack of “crowd management” after the latest in a series of disasters during the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
If mistakes were made, those who made them will be held accountable, and we will make sure that we will learn from this in order to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
“They have even prevented us from aiding our own pilgrims”, he complained with surprise.
U Ko Ko Latt said he hoped that the Saudi government would take responsibility for those killed or missing as a result of the stampede.
Such suggestions are “frankly ridiculous”, columnist Rasheed Abou-Alsamh wrote in Sunday’s Arab News, an English-language Saudi daily.
Jahangiri reiterated it is “particular and clear” to Iran that “the Saudi authorities is chargeable for this catastrophe … and has to offer solutions”.
Dozens of special emergency force personnel were seen on one level of Jamarat Bridge, a five-storey structure in Mina where pilgrims ritually stone the devil, and on which hundreds of thousands were converging when Thursday’s stampede occurred nearby.
Sheikh Ashrafi denounced the negative statements issued by Iran on the Mina stampede, describing these as irresponsible remarks, stressing that Iran should not take advantage of this unfortunate incident for political purposes.
Al-Falih said that Saud Arabia responded to the incident with all its health and civil defense teams, adding that around 25,000 health workers served the estimated 2 million pilgrims this year.
For years, the hajj was marred by stampedes and fires, but it had been largely incident-free for nearly a decade after safety improvements and billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure investment.