Bodies of some Iranian Hajj pilgrims may not be repatriated: health minister

October 12, 2015

TEHRAN - Iranian Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi said on Sunday that it may not be possible for some of the corpses of the Mina tragedy to be repatriated to Iran, Mehr reported.

“Therefore, it is better to encourage the families of the dead to allow them to be interred in the holy Mecca,” Qazizadeh Hashemi said while visiting some grand ayatollahs in Qom.

Given that Eid al-Adha is the most important holiday in Saudi Arabia and that the corpses are not handed over during the period, a systematic cooperation between Saudi and Iran did not take place, the health minister said.

“However, with serious follow-up on the Supreme Leader’s speeches, we could hold some talks with Saudi officials,” he added.

Qazizadeh Hashemi mentioned that health is not a political issue, adding that Saudi officials insisted the bodies to be buried before the sunset.

“But we stressed that Iranians must agree with it.”

“I am not sure if any Iranian has been buried in Saudi Arabia so far but after the meetings, I can ensure that no Iranian will be buried there.
However, it may not be possible for some corpses to be returned home,” he indicated.

With the current management in Saudi Arabia, similar incidents are not impossible in the future, the minister said.

“I am sure the [Iranian] government and other relevant bodies will revise the management procedures of sending pilgrims to holy Mecca, but some parts are out of our control. We must look for some ways to make the pilgrimage easier,” the minister said.

Saeed Ohadi, head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, said on Sunday that so far 399 Iranian pilgrims have been confirmed dead and 65 others still missing in the Mina stampede.

Caption: Qazizadeh Hashemi (left) hold talks with Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi in Qom

PT/PA