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    Rouhani Cuts UN Visit as Number of Iranian Victims of Hajj Stampede Rises to 167

    © Photo: President of the Islamic Republic of Iran website
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    Hassan Rouhani decided to cut his visit to UN General Assembly to attend the funeral of Iranians who fell victim to a stampede at the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani decided to cut his visit to UN General Assembly to attend the funeral of Iranians who fell victim to a stampede at the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the Saudi Arabian valley of Mina, a spokesman for the president's office said Monday.

    Earlier in the day, Iranian Hajj organizers said that the number of Iranians who died after two crowds of pilgrims that gathered to celebrate the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha collided Thursday reached 167 while 307 are still missing.

    Rescuers respond to a stampede that killed and injured pilgrims in the holy city of Mina during the annual hajj pilgrimage on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015
    © AP Photo / Directorate of the Saudi Civil Defense agency
    According to Parviz Esmaeli, the first plane with the bodies of the Iranian Hajj pilgrims is expected to arrive in Tehran on Tuesday.

    "Therefore, President Rouhani cancelled some of scheduled meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and will leave New York on Monday afternoon," the spokesman said as quoted by Iran’s IRNA agency.

    According to the official Saudi statistics, 769 pilgrims from a total of 18 countries fell victim to the event, considered dangerous because of the size of the crowds that often create bottlenecks around the holy site.

    On Thursday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saudi Arabia was responsible for the stampede near Mecca.


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    victims, stampede, Hajj, UN General Assembly, Hassan Rouhani, Saudi Arabia, Iran
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