Stark Warning to S. Arabia Over Hajj Disaster

Stark Warning to S. Arabia  Over Hajj Disaster Stark Warning to S. Arabia  Over Hajj Disaster

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei warned Saudi Arabia about the consequences of failing to meet its obligations regarding the transfer of the bodies of the Iranian victims who lost their lives in the Sept. 24 crush disaster near Mecca during the Hajj pilgrimage rituals.

He also underlined the need for the establishment of a "fact-finding committee" involving all Muslim countries, including Iran, to investigate the catastrophic incident which claimed the lives of about 240 Iranian pilgrims.

He said, "The Saudi government does not carry out its duties regarding the transfer of the bodies of the victims, and the Islamic Republic of Iran shows self-restraint and Islamic politeness.

“But they should be aware of the fact that the slightest disrespect to tens of thousands of Iranian Hajj pilgrims in Mecca and Medina [home to the holiest Muslim shrines] and the [Saudis’] failure to meet their obligations on the repatriation of the bodies will be met with Iran’s firm and harsh response.”

Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in an address during the graduation ceremony of cadets at the Imam Khomeini Naval Academy in the northern city of Noshahr on Wednesday, IRNA reported.  

The bodies of some victims were expected to be transferred to Iran on Tuesday or Wednesday, but it seems that the process has hit a snag due to Saudi authorities’ uncooperative approach.

President Hassan Rouhani cut short his visit to New York for the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and arrived in Tehran on Tuesday to attend the funeral ceremony for the victims.

The Leader described the incident as a “massive disaster” for the Iranian nation and said Tehran “has the upper hand and possesses more capabilities and if decides to respond to harassment by sly elements, it could give them a hard time.”