Leader says Saudi must ensure safety of  pilgrims and Hajj ceremony

Leader says Saudi must ensure safety of pilgrims and Hajj ceremony

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Saudi Arabia is responsible for the safety of this year's Hajj Islamic pilgrimage and must guarantee that all pilgrims will be treated with respect.

Ayatollah Khamenei told Iranian Hajj officials on Wednesday that Riyadh faced the tall task of "ensuring  the pilgrims' safety without taking excessive steps in securing the areas" while "venerating all of the pilgrims."

Despite Riyadh's decision in January 2017 to unilaterally cut ties after protests outside its diplomatic premises in Tehran and Mashhad, both countries have made it clear that Hajj as a religious obligation should not be mixed with politics.

Safety of pilgrims has been one of the main issues discussed between Iranian and Saudi officials over the past years.

Iran has more than once stopped sending pilgrims to Hajj in the past few years after a series of incidents that either threatened pilgrims' safety or violated their dignity.

In September 2015, a deadly human crush occurred during Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca. Days into the incident, Saudi Arabia published a death toll of 770 but refused to update it.

Unofficial sources, based on individual reports from countries whose nationals had been among the victims of the crash, put the death toll at almost 7,000 people.

Iran said about 465 of its nationals lost their lives in the incident.

Earlier that month, a massive construction crane operated by the Saudi Binladin Group conglomerate collapsed onto Mecca’s Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 pilgrims, including 11 Iranians, and injuring over 200 others, 32 of them from Iran.

Send To Friend