Sun Oct 4, 2015 4:16PM
Iranian military and mourners follow an ambulance carrying a coffin during a funeral procession for some of the Iranian pilgrims who were killed in a stampede at the annual hajj on October 4, 2015 in the capital Tehran. (AFP photo)
Iranian military and mourners follow an ambulance carrying a coffin during a funeral procession for some of the Iranian pilgrims who were killed in a stampede at the annual hajj on October 4, 2015 in the capital Tehran. (AFP photo)

Press TV has conducted an interview with Mohammad Hassan Khani, a professor at Imam Sadiq University in Tehran, about Iranians holding mourning ceremonies in the capital, Tehran, and other cities for the victims of the tragic human crush on September 24 in Mina, Saudi Arabia, during the Hajj pilgrimage rituals.

What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Certainly a very somber day for Iranians as they of course reflect and this tragedy becomes ever more real with the coffins arriving. How do you reflect on this day?

Khani: Well this year’s hajj will go down surely in history as maybe one of the most tragic, the saddest, most sorrowful and somehow with the deadliest year in the history of hajj. Now that the hajjis are returning home, we are witnessing a very, very tragic scene at the airports.

As you mentioned yesterday and today the airplanes have landed in Tehran and other cities in Iran, bringing back the victims of the hajj and those people that were supposed to come to the airport to celebrate the return and the arrival of their beloved ones, now they are somehow mourning and it is very difficult to describe the depth of the sadness and the grief that they are going through. And it is not in Iran. Let’s remember that it is just across the Islamic world. We have so many nations that are witnessing the same sad scenes and everybody is asking what went wrong.

So this is the big question and they expect to somehow hear a convincing answer from Saudis to explain what went wrong and unfortunately the tone and the language by which the Saudi authorities have been talking is not only convincing but not very comfortable one for those who are expecting those explanations to be heard.

So it is very, very difficult to understand that why Saudi Arabia is dealing with the Muslim public opinion across the globe and especially in the Muslim countries in this very, very amateur way.

Press TV: And of course it is interesting, isn’t it professor Khani, that even though Iran is the one that has the most victims, it has been very reasonable in its demands. It has been asking for a fact-finding committee to be set up by all Muslim nations as Dr. Rouhani and even Ayatollah Khamenei have indicated. Do you think that the Saudis will respond positively?

Khani: I hope so; I really hope so because as you said what we have seen from Iran and Iranian authorities is something that I will describe it as utmost patience. Iranians have been very patient in dealing with this. They have been trying to avoid emotional reactions. At least they want, as I said, a convincing explanation from Saudis that what went wrong that this deadly crush happened. Maybe the mismanagement here is the key word and if Saudis take the responsibility, they must somehow be accountable for what happened and accept this responsibility. That would be somehow a relief for the families of the victims.