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Iran Nearly Doubles Death Toll From Hajj Stampede


Iran has nearly doubled its death toll from last week's hajj stampede, saying there was no hope of finding pilgrims missing after the tragedy.

"Seven days after this tragic accident...the status of all [pilgrims] injured has been completely cleared and reported," Iran's hajj organization said in a statement carried by state TV on October 1.

It said 464 Iranian pilgrims were thought to have died in the stampede near Mecca on September 24.

Saudi authorities have put the total death toll for the tragedy at 769.

Riyadh has offered condolences to Iran over the disaster in a bid to tone down a war of words between the rivals.

Saudi and Iranian media said the message of sympathy was delivered on September 30 at a meeting between the two countries' health ministers in the Saudi Red Sea port city of Jeddah.

"The meeting was positive and the Saudi minister announced the king's condolences to the supreme leader, and the government and people of Iran," Iranian Health Minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

Previously, Iran's top leader on September 30 warned Saudi Arabia of "harsh" measures if the kingdom fails to promptly repatriate the bodies of the Iranian victims.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's warning came as Iran summoned Riyadh's envoy for the fourth time since the stampede.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
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