Iran Rejects Saudi’s Claims on Missing Former Ambassador

Iran Rejects Saudi’s Claims on Missing Former Ambassador
Mon Sep 28, 2015 18:40:15

Tehran has dismissed claims by some Arab media over the fate of the former Iranian ambassador to Lebanon who remains unaccounted for days after a deadly crush in Saudi Arabia killed around 170 Iranian pilgrims and left hundreds more missing.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham on Monday described as “incorrect” and "hasty" reports claiming that Saudi authorities have no official record on the entry of Ghazanfar Asl Roknabadi to the kingdom for performing Hajj rituals, saying the ministry has documents showing that Riyadh had approved an ordinary Hajj visa for the missing diplomat, PRESS TV reported.

“Mr. Roknabadi set off for the Hajj pilgrimage with his ordinary passport and detailed information on the passports of all pilgrims, including his, are at the disposal of the authorities of the Saudi government,” Afkham said, reiterating that there is no “doubt” about the information and details of Roknabadi’s arrival in the kingdom.

The Saudi-owned Arabic-language TV channel Al Arabiya claimed earlier in the day that there had been no official records showing that Roknabadi had arrived in the Saudi territory for performing Hajj rituals. The report said that the diplomat could have entered the kingdom through unofficial channels.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham

Afkham denied the report as a fabrication inspired by ulterior motives, saying the Iranian Foreign Ministry has provided Saudi officials with identity documents of around 300 Iranian nationals who are still missing, including Roknabadi. She said those documents include one which shows Roknabadi’s passport had Hajj visa stamping.

Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Sa’eed Ohadi, informed nearly 2,000 people lost their lives in the tragedy.

With 169 Iranian pilgrims killed, Iran recorded the highest number of fatalities in the incident among other countries.

The Iranian government has tasked a special delegation with following up on the cases of those missing and injured, but Saudi government has so far refused to grant a visa to Iranian Culture Minister Ali Janati, who is to head the delegation to the Saudi kingdom.

This year’s pilgrimage saw a host of incidents, with 109 people killed in the collapse of a giant crane in the Grand Mosque in Mecca days before the Hajj ritual started.

On Friday, Egyptian pilgrims stationed in Mina reported a fire in their tents, although no official casualties were reported. Two hotel fires had been reported earlier as well.

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