Iran urges to be part of hajj stampede inquiry

  • 26/09/2015
Muslim pilgrims symbolically stone the devil in Mecca, Saudi Arabia where 717 people were crushed (AAP)
Muslim pilgrims symbolically stone the devil in Mecca, Saudi Arabia where 717 people were crushed (AAP)

Iran has demanded that it and other affected countries be represented in the Saudi investigation into the hajj stampede that killed more than 700 pilgrims.

At least 131 Iranians were among those killed, with hundreds more still missing.

"Countries such as Iran, which have suffered so much, should be represented in the inquiry to determine the causes of the catastrophe and to gain assurances that it will not be repeated in the future," First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said on Friday after an extraordinary session of the cabinet.

"There is no question about the poor management" of the pilgrimage and the "inexperience of security personnel" on the ground at the time, he added.

"The Saudi government is responsible and must respond."

Meanwhile, Tehran summoned Riyadh's charge d'affaires to ask for Saudi Arabia to cooperate in repatriating the bodies of Iranian victims of Thursday's stampede.

The state television website said Iran asked the "Saudi government to immediately cooperate to allow for the bodies of killed pilgrims to be repatriated".

Said Ohadi, head of Iran's hajj organisation, has claimed the death toll is higher than Riyadh has officially announced.

"Some 1500 people were killed in the disaster but the toll could well reach 2000 according to reliable sources," Iranian news agencies quoted him as saying.

"Up to 365 Iranian pilgrims are still missing but this doesn't necessarily mean they are dead," he added.

AFP