Iran president: 'Punish' Saudi Arabia for 2015 hajj disaster
Iran's president on Wednesday called on the Muslim world to "punish" Saudi Arabia following last year's hajj crush and stampede that killed over 2,400 people — sharp criticism as multitudes poured into the kingdom for this year's pilgrimage.
Hassan Rouhani's comments are the latest salvo in a growing dispute between Shiite-dominated Iran and Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims are now arriving in the kingdom to participate in the annual hajj pilgrimage, which starts later this week.
Iranian pilgrims are not taking part in this year's hajj, a ritual required of all able-bodied Muslims at least once in their life.
Iran's state-run IRNA news agency on Wednesday quoted Rouhani lambasting Saudi Arabia's response to the 2015 stampede in Mina by saying pilgrims lost their lives because Saudi authorities acted just as "bystanders rather than rescuing" those caught in the disaster.