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Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei addresses families of Iranian victims of last year's hajj disasters in Tehran on Sept. 7.
Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei addresses families of Iranian victims of last year's hajj disasters in Tehran on Sept. 7.

Hajj Disasters Demonstrate Saudi Incompetence

Even if what happened in Mecca was accidental, such level of imprudence and incompetence from a government constitute a crime

Hajj Disasters Demonstrate Saudi Incompetence

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Saudi leaders are incompetent to run holy Muslim places, citing two deadly incidents that happened days apart last year.

"The Saudis' incompetence and safety concerns they have raised among the pilgrims of Kaaba was clear evidence this government does not deserve to remain in charge of the two holy shrines, a fact that should be disseminated in the Muslim world," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

He was referring to the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina in a Wednesday speech to families of the victims of the disasters that hit the most revered Muslim place.

More than 460 Iranians were among the thousands of pilgrims who perished in a crush in Mina, near Mecca, on September 24, 2015, during the hajj pilgrimage, leading to a sharp escalation of already tense relations between Tehran and Riyadh.

It followed another deadly incident in the same month in which at least 107 people from across the world lost their lives, including 11 Iranians, when a massive construction crane crashed in the Grand Mosque in Mecca due to stormy weather.

An official Saudi inquiry has yet to be published, but Saudi authorities claimed at the time some pilgrims ignored crowd control rules.

"If Saudi leaders were truly innocent, why do they not allow an international-Islamic fact-finding mission to be assigned to closely investigate the issue and reveal the facts," the Leader was quoted as saying on his official website.

"Even if what happened was accidental, such level of imprudence and incompetence from a government constitute a crime," he said.

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