[An Iranian man beats with his shoe an effigy of a Saudi royal during a demonstration in Tehran.]
Riyadh: Even as the Saudi authorities are busy in investigating the exact cause of the Mina stampede which killed over 750 Haj pilgrims, a top Iranian writer and academic Sunday slammed the Iran's media frenzy in response to the tragic incident saying they stemmed out of events in Syria and Yemen.
“As opposed to other Muslims, ours were the only reactions aimed at pre-judging who is responsible for the Mina tragedy,” prominent Iranian writer and academic Sadegh Zibakalam said while talking to Al Arabiya.net.
“The response (from Iranian officials) was based on unleashing anti-Arab sentiment that many Iranians bear. The horrible Mina incident has allowed Iranians to unload their anger onto Arabs,” he added.
Earlier, an un-named Iranian official had confirmed that the stampede broke out in Mina after about 300 Iranian hajis started moving from Muzdalifa straight to Jamarat, instead of first going to their camps as is generally practiced by Haj pilgrims, to wait for the time of movement of their group.
"Then they moved in the opposite direction on Street 203 where the painful incident took place", Asharq Al-Awsat, the Kingdom's leading Arabic daily, said in a report quoting the Iranian official.
The newspaper said that there were cameras in Jamarat, which also revealed the details of the incident and confirmed the Iranian group’s wrong move. That actually was time for Turkish pilgrims to come out.
More than 900 Haj pilgrims have died during this year's haj in two seperate incidents. While about 117 hajis died in an accident after a crane collapsed inside the Makkah Haram on September 11, more than 750 haj pilgrims are killed in a stampede in Mina on September 24 - the second day of haj.
Ever since the two tragic incidents took place, Iran, with the help of a section in the media, is busy in an anti-Arab, anti-Sunni and Anti-Saudi Arabia propaganda, even though available evidences so far reveal a different story.
While the entire Muslim world was in shock and grief, Iran allowed anti-Arab protests in different parts of the country and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani referred the tragic incident in his speech at the United Nations for political gain.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia firmly rejected Iran’s criticism of its handling of the Haj pilgrimage Saturday after Tehran demanded an inquiry into the Mina stampede.
“I believe the Iranians should know better than to play politics with a tragedy that has befallen people who were performing their most sacred religious duty,” Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said, according to AFP.
Al-Jubeir, delivering remarks along US Secretary of State John Kerry, insisted that Saudi Arabia was on top of the situation.
“The Kingdom has had a long history of spending tremendous resources to care for the pilgrimage to ensure that the pilgrims who come there have a successful pilgrimage,” he said.
“And we will reveal the facts when they emerge. And we will not hold anything back. If mistakes were made, who made them will be held accountable,” Al-Jubeir said.
“And we will make sure that we will learn from this and we will make sure that it doesn’t happen again. I want to repeat again this is not a situation with which to play politics.
“I would hope Iranian leaders would be more sensible and more thoughtful with regards to those who perished in this tragedy, and wait until we see the results of the investigation.”