Monday, 13 January, 2020

Iran will sue Saudi Arabia at international courts

Iran plans to file a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia at international courts over the deaths of hundreds of Iranian pilgrims in the last year’s deadly crush during Hajj rituals in Mina, near the holy Saudi city of Mecca, Iran’s Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi on Thursday.

Pourmohammadi told Iran’s TV that the country is pursuing the matter and considering various ways to refer the case to international circles.

He said complaints from the families of victims of the Mina tragedy have been received, adding that Iran plans to bring charges against Saudi Arabia,

‘Since the complaint has been filed against another country, Iranian courts cannot deal with the case and prosecute the Riyadh regime’, Tasnim News quoted Pourmohammadi as saying.

The minister also noted that while Iran is proceeding with legal measures with the help of lawyers and jurists, the main steps should be taken by the country’s diplomatic bodies, noting that the Judiciary will also help accelerate the process.

The main obstacle in the way of this legal action is that the Saudi government does not obey the international legal rules and that its local courts also lack independence, Pourmohammadi went on to say.

More than 460 Iranians were among the thousands of pilgrims who died on September 24, 2015, in a crush in Mina during the Hajj pilgrimage.

The incident marked the worst ever tragedy during Hajj.

Last week, Iran canceled its participation in this year’s holy pilgrimage to Mecca, blaming Saudi Arabia for the cancellation.

The decision followed months of talks over how Iranians would obtain Saudi visas after Riyadh severed diplomatic ties with Iran in January. The break was a response to attacks on Saudi diplomatic compounds in Iran by people angry with the kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric and activist.

Despite several visits to Saudi Arabia to negotiate visas and other logistics for the September hajj by Iranian officials including Saeed Ohadi, the head of its hajj organization, the two sides failed to reach a deal to resolve differences over issues including how visas would be issued.

Image: An Iranian hajj pilgrim return home following the Mina Stampede in Saudi Arabia on September 2015 (Photo Credit: Tasnim News)

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