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Al Saud strategic partner of Israel, West in Mideast: Iran official



A senior Iranian official has slammed Western double standards in dealing with Saudi crimes against Muslim nations, saying Riyadh serves as the “strategic partner” of the West and Israel in the region.

The West’s all-out support has encouraged the Saudis to step up their atrocities across the region, said Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani on Friday.

“Today, the government which is the root cause of Muslim killings in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, serves as the strategic ally of the West and Israel in the region, leaving a big question mark over  fake US claims about human rights,” he added.

Mina deaths ‘a stain of shame’

Shamkhani, who was speaking on the first anniversary of the deaths of thousands of Muslim pilgrims in a human crush during last year’s Hajj rituals, further said the tragedy “will be a stain of shame on Al Saud forever.”

Riyadh’s refusal to apologize for the incident as well as its failure to identify those guilty fuel the suspicion of the kingdom’s complicity in the incident, he said.

Muslim pilgrims and rescuers gather around the victims of a deadly human crush in Mina, Saudi Arabia, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, September 24, 2015. (Photo by AP)

About 7,000 people, including 465 Iranians, lost their lives in a crush during Hajj rituals in Mina, near Mecca, on September 24, 2015. Iran had the greatest number of deaths among foreign nationals.

Days after the crush, the Saudis put the death toll from the crush at 770 and refused to update it later. Analysts say Riyadh is afraid of releasing the real figures, which will be a proof of the kingdom’s inability to properly run annual Hajj rituals.

The Saudi government has so far rejected Tehran’s calls for the formation of a fact-finding committee to investigate the incident.

Iranian pilgrims did not attend the Hajj rituals this year because Saudi Arabia refused to provide guarantees for the safety of its pilgrims.

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