Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has issued yet another tirade against Saudi Arabia’s control of the holiest site in Islam, Mecca, now claiming that America has “blood” on its hands over a stampede at last year’s hajj pilgrimage that killed thousands.
In a speech excerpt titled “The vicious progeny of Al Saud does not deserve to oversee the Hajj,” the Ayatollah expresses frustration and anger that his repeated calls for other Muslim nations to condemn Saudi Arabia over last year’s hajj stampede has largely fallen on deaf years. “The vicious and cursed progeny of Al Saud pays them hush money,” he says of other Sunni nations that have not joined Iran in calling for another government to control Mecca.
Earlier this week, Khamenei urged Muslim nations to “fundamentally reconsider the management of the two holy places and the issue of hajj.” In response, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdullatif Al-Zayani condemned Iran’s “clear incitement and desperate attempt to politicize” the hajj. The GCC, he stated, “reject[s] the unjust media campaign and the successive declarations of senior Iranian leaders against the Kingdom… [which are] totally incompatible with the values and precepts of Islam which extol compassion, love and brotherhood.”
In his latest missive, Khamenei reserves condemnation not just for other Sunni Muslim nations, but for the government of the United States, which played no role in the hajj stampede and continues to play no role in the hajj whatsoever. “We must understand that the powers in support of Al Saud are complicit in the Mina tragedy, and similar incidents,” he writes. “USA’s hands are stained with the blood of those tragically martyred in Mina.”
“It is with support of the US that the Saudi government committed this major crime, without any remorse,” Khamenei continues, repeating his accusation that the stampede was intentional.
Khamenei also claims that “over 7,000 pilgrims were martyred” in the stampede. While the death toll was formidable, Reuters puts the actual number of dead at over 2,000. Saudi Arabia has confirmed only little more than 750 deaths.
While Khamenei has been the most vocal Iranian leader on this issue, he is not alone. Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif tweeted earlier this week against Saudi Arabia, stating, “Indeed; no resemblance between Islam of Iranians & most Muslims & bigoted extremism that Wahhabi top cleric & Saudi terror masters preach.”
Indeed; no resemblance between Islam of Iranians & most Muslims & bigoted extremism that Wahhabi top cleric & Saudi terror masters preach.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) September 6, 2016
While Saudi Arabia has a storied history of supporting the extremist Wahhabi Sunni philosophy and the jihadists who follow it, Iran has invested billions in its terror proxy, Hezbollah, which has established a complex mafia-like network across Latin America, north Africa, and the Middle East.
Earlier this week, the government of Saudi Arabia responded to the repeated prodding from Iranian officials by dismissing the population of Iran as “not Muslim.”
“We must understand they are not Muslims, for they are the descendants of Majuws [Zoroastrians]. Their enmity toward Muslims, especially the Sunnis, is very old,” Saudi Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh said in a statement.
The hajj has already begun, ending Sunday. Thousands of pilgrims have begun the ritual circling of the Kaaba in Mecca, which is currently experiencing extreme temperatures about 100ºF. Iranian citizens are banned from attending this year.