RELIGION

Iran's president: Saudi should be 'punished' for hajj deaths

  • FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2015, file photo, a Muslim pilgrim walks through the site where dead bodies are gathered after a stampede during the annual hajj pilgrimage, in Mina, Saudi Arabia. The website of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei quotes him on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016, accusing Saudi Arabia of causing the death of injured pilgrims in last year's hajj stampede saying, "The ruthless and criminal Saudi men locked half-alive injured people up along with the dead in tightly closed containers and martyred them." (AP Photo, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2015, file photo, a Muslim pilgrim walks through the site where dead bodies are gathered after a stampede during the annual hajj pilgrimage, in Mina, Saudi Arabia. The website of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei quotes him on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016, accusing Saudi Arabia of causing the death of injured pilgrims in last year's hajj stampede saying, "The ruthless and criminal Saudi men locked half-alive injured people up along with the dead in tightly closed containers and martyred them." (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a weekly cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says Islamic countries should take "punitive" measures against Saudi Arabia following the deaths of over two thousand pilgrims in a crush of crowds during last year's hajj. The official IRNA news agency quotes Rouhani as saying the pilgrims lost their lives because of the "lack of qualification" of Saudi authorities. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

    In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a weekly cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says Islamic countries should take "punitive" measures against Saudi Arabia following the deaths of over two thousand pilgrims in a crush of crowds during last year's hajj. The official IRNA news agency quotes Rouhani as saying the pilgrims lost their lives because of the "lack of qualification" of Saudi authorities. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Millions of pilgrims have arrived to Mecca ahead of the Hajj annual pilgrimage which begins Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

    Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Millions of pilgrims have arrived to Mecca ahead of the Hajj annual pilgrimage which begins Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)  (The Associated Press)

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says Islamic countries should take "punitive" measures against Saudi Arabia following the deaths of over two thousand pilgrims in a crush of crowds during last year's hajj.

The official IRNA news agency quotes Rouhani Wednesday as saying the pilgrims lost their lives because of the "lack of qualification" of Saudi authorities.

Rouhani says "regional countries and the Islamic world should take coordinated measures to punish the government of Saudi Arabia in order to have a real hajj."

According to an Associated Press count 2,426 pilgrims were killed in last September's hajj stampede, among them 464 Iranians.

Tensions have flared between the regional rivals, with Iran's supreme leader recently saying Saudi "murdered" injured hajj pilgrims and Saudi's grand mufti countering by claiming that Iranians are "not Muslims."