0219 GMT December 16, 2019
Iranians and Muslims across the world celebrated Eid al-Adha on Monday while many Muslims were still feeling sad about loss of their family members during the last year Hajj tragedy in Saudi Arabia.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani felicitated leaders of Muslim countries on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, which marks the culmination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Muslims traditionally celebrate Eid al-Adha, one of the most important religious feasts, with the sacrifice of animals like sheep, rams, goats and cattle.
Iranians across the country attended the day’s prayers on Monday.
Addressing the worshipers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said Saudi rulers are criminals who must be tried in Islamic tribunals and punished for the deaths of thousands during the last year Hajj tragedy.
According to Ayatollah Khatami, 7,000 pilgrims lost their lives last year in the "fire of Al Saud crimes" in the worst disaster in the pilgrimage's history.
"There is no doubt that Al Saud rulers are not the accused but the frontline criminals in the Mina disaster and are culpable at the least," he told worshipers.
"These criminals must be tried in Islamic courts and receive due punishment," Ayatollah Khatami added.
A human crush happened in Mina near Mecca on September 24, 2015 when two large masses of pilgrims converged at a crossroads during the symbolic stoning of Satan in Jamarat. At least 460 Iranian pilgrims lost their lives in the tragedy – the biggest toll by a single country.
Iran decided not to send its pilgrims this year because of “obstacles” created by Saudi Arabia and Saudi authorities' failure to guarantee their safety.
The events which led to the crush as well as Saudi authorities' handling of its aftermath drew widespread criticism and raised serious questions about their ability to manage the massive event.
Ayatollah Khatami said, "The Mina disaster showed that Al Saud rulers do not deserve to manage the Two Noble Sanctuaries and a board of Muslim elites is needed to take up the responsibility or at least administer Hajj rituals."
The senior cleric touched on the chaos following the disaster, saying Saudi authorities had deliberately refused to aid those caught up in the mayhem, and decided to watch pilgrims die through closed-circuit television cameras instead.
“If they had taken water with helicopters, they could have saved the lives of many Muslims. Moreover, they didn’t allow Iranian workers to help and their own workers did not make any effort to save lives.”
Ayatollah Khatami described the tragedy as a grave test for the international community, which it had failed through its silence.
“Had a thousandth of this disaster happened in European countries, international organizations would have deafened ears with their cries but they didn’t raise a voice after 7,000 people lost their lives.”
The cleric called on Saudi authorities to form a fact-finding committee to investigate the incident.
“If you are not a criminal, then let a fact-finding committee be formed so that the truth about the Mina disaster comes to light,” Ayatollah Khatami said.