Fri Oct 9, 2015 03:12PM
Senior Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi addresses worshipers during the weekly Friday Prayers in the Iranian capital, Tehran, October 9, 2015. (IRNA Photo)
Senior Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi addresses worshipers during the weekly Friday Prayers in the Iranian capital, Tehran, October 9, 2015. (IRNA Photo)

A senior Iranian cleric says the Saudi regime’s ongoing deadly military aggression against Yemen and its killing of Muslims shows Riyadh’s intention to tarnish the image of Islam.

Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi said in an address to worshipers during the weekly Friday Prayers in the Iranian capital, Tehran, that Al Saud has launched a "proxy war" against its impoverished southern neighbor on behalf of the US and UK.

He added that the Saudi regime has focused all of its military and security assets on the war on Yemen, and that is why it was not able to manage the rituals of Hajj pilgrimage which caused the tragic human crush of September 24 in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca.

The Iranian cleric said the closure of routes for pilgrims in Mina and the conduct of the Saudi authorities vis-à-vis the survivors of the incident proves that what took place was “intentional.”

Seddiqi also called for the establishment of a fact-finding committee for an investigation into the human disaster.

He urged Iranian authorities to firmly pursue the issue and determine the exact causes behind the Mina tragedy.

The human crush took place after two large masses of pilgrims converged at a crossroads in Mina, a few kilometers east of the holy city of Mecca, during the symbolic ceremony of the stoning of Satan in Jamarat, making it the deadliest event to ever strike the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Saudi emergency personnel stand near bodies of Hajj pilgrims at the site of a tragic crush in Mina, a few kilometers east of the holy city of Mecca, on September 24, 2015. (AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia claims nearly 770 people were killed in the incident, but officials at Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization say about 4,700 people, including over 460 Iranians, lost their lives.

A new tally by the Associated Press shows that at least 1,453 people were killed in the incident. The AP count is 684 higher than the official toll of 769 provided by Riyadh.

The Associated Press says it obtained the figure from statements made by 19 of over 180 countries that had pilgrims in Mina at the time of the deadly tragedy. Saudi officials, however, have not made any comment on the new toll yet.

Saudi Arabia’s blatant violation of international law in Yemen

Also on Friday and in an address to the worshipers in Tehran, a high-ranking official with Yemen’s Ansarullah movement said Saudi Arabia has blatantly violated international regulations and humanitarian values by conducting deadly airstrikes against Yemen.

A high-ranking official of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement, Abdulrahman Mokhtar addresses Friday Prayers worshippers in Tehran, Iran, October 9, 2015. (IRNA photo)

 

Abdulrahman Mokhtar said the Saudi airstrikes have claimed the lives of many civilians including women and children and destroyed infrastructure in Yemen.

The Yemeni nation, he emphasized, is determined to continue resistance against the Saudi regime until victory.

Yemen has been under Saudi airstrikes on a daily basis since March 26. The attacks were launched in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and restore power to the fugitive former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

Ansarullah fighters check a mosque after it was targeted by a bombing in the capital, Sana’a, October 7, 2015. (AFP)

 

About 6,400 people have reportedly lost their lives in the conflict in Yemen, according to reports.

On October 2, Julien Harneis, the representative of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Yemen, said “with every day that passes, children see their hopes and dreams for the future shattered.”

Six months of violence in Yemen, UNICEF said, have killed “at least 505 children.” More than 700 kids have been also injured in the airstrikes, and over 1.7 million others are at risk of malnutrition.