Accessibility links

Khamenei Says Saudis Should Not Be In Charge of Hajj

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has blasted Saudi Arabia over its management of the hajj, suggesting Muslim countries should challenge Riyadh's control of the annual Muslim pilgrimage.

"Because of these [Saudi] rulers' oppressive behavior towards God's guests, the world of Islam must fundamentally reconsider the management of the two holy places and the issue of hajj," Khamenei said in a September 5 message posted on his website.

Khamenei also criticized the Saudi response following last year’s stampede in Mecca that killed hundreds of pilgrims, including 460 Iranians.

"Instead of apology and remorse and judicial prosecution of those who were directly at fault in that horrifying event, Saudi rulers -- with utmost shamelessness and insolence -- refused to allow the formation of an international Islamic fact-finding committee," he said.

Saudi authorities have published few details of the official investigation into the incident. Authorities suggested at the time that some pilgrims ignored crowd control rules.

Tensions have been on the rise in recent months between the two regional rivals that are at odd over a number of issues, notably the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran earlier this year after Iranian protesters ransacked Saudi diplomatic offices there to protest the execution of a prominent Saudi Shi'ite cleric.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP and the BBC