Riyadh makes rude remarks against Iran for Hajj inquiry

September 8, 2016

TEHRAN – A top Saudi cleric is revving up the kingdom’s rhetoric against Iran, saying in comments published on Tuesday that Tehran’s leaders are “not Muslims,” in response to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Hajj message released on Monday.

The remarks by Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh came a day after Ayatollah Khamenei said, “The heartless and murderous Saudis locked up the injured with the dead (after the Mina stampede) in containers- instead of providing medical treatment and helping them or at least quenching their thirst. They murdered them.”

Over 460 Iranians were among the hundreds of pilgrims who died in a stampede on September 24, 2015, that occurred in Mina, near Mecca, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The incident marked the worst tragedy that has happened during Hajj.

The Islamic Republic announced on May 29 that it won’t dispatch pilgrims this year to Mecca due to Riyadh’s failure to address Tehran’s concerns regarding the safety of the pilgrims.

Instead of answering calls from Tehran to provide technical explanations about the tragedy and redeem the bloods of the victims, the Saudi cleric said Iranians are descendants of “Majuws”— a term that refers to Zoroastrians and those who worship fire. 

Zoroastrianism is a monotheistic religion predating Christianity and Islam and was the dominant religion in Persia before the Arab conquest.

“We must understand they are not Muslims, for they are the descendants of Majuws, and their enmity toward Muslims, especially the Sunnis, is very old,” the Saudi cleric said.

------ Ayatollah says Riyadh venting political rage

Top Iranian cleric Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi on Wednesday said Saudi Arabia’s rejection of Iranian pilgrims this year is “politically motivated”. 

The ayatollah said Riyadh’s negative approach to Iranian pilgrims is partly aggravated by the fact that the Saudis were disappointed with the course of political developments in Iraq, Yemen, and Syria.

------- Iran will never overlook Mina tragedy: Rouhani

President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran will never give up on restoring the rights of the victims of the Mina tragedy, IRNA reported.

Addressing a cabinet meeting, Rouhani stressed that the Islamic Republic will not disregard the crush that claimed the lives of thousands of pilgrims.

The president said his administration will pursue the country’s rights regarding the fatal crush of Hajj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia through legal and political channels. 

He also urged the Muslim world in general and regional countries in particular to put in a great deal of effort to resolve the problems caused by the Saudi regime regarding Hajj pilgrimage.

The president further said the Hajj period should be regarded as a chance to restore unity among Muslim countries, whereas it is used to hurt the dignity of Muslims.

“Those who have gained wealth and prestige because of the holy shrines must realize that it is their duty to provide security and order for the pilgrims,” Rouhani remarked.

Rouhani also denounced the Saudi rulers for their refusal to offer an apology or compensate for the deaths they caused in the last year’s tragic incident.

Iran has repeatedly criticized the Saudi rulers for falling short of ensuring the safety of Hajj pilgrims. 


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