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Iran vows to take Saudi rulers to court over hajj disaster

The Associated Press

Iranian worshippers chant slogans “death to Al-Saud family”, a reference to the rulers of the Saudi kingdom in a reaction to the hajj crush deaths on Thursday, while they listen to the sermons of the Friday prayer in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The protest came a day after at least 719 pilgrims died during a crush on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Associated Press

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s state prosecutor says he will pursue legal action against Saudi Arabia’s rulers in international courts over the crush of pilgrims at this year’s hajj, which killed more than 700 people, including 136 Iranians.

Ebrahim Raisi, speaking on state TV Saturday, called the disaster “a crime” subject to prosecution. He said Saudi authorities blocked a road used by hajj pilgrims to allow a royal convoy to pass through, causing the deadly convergence of two waves of pilgrims going in opposite directions.

At least 719 pilgrims suffocated or were trampled to death. Iranians comprise the largest group of casualties identified so far.

Iranian state TV says Ghazanfar Roknabadi, a former ambassador to Lebanon, as well as two Iranian state TV reporters and a prominent political analyst are among those still missing.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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