Last Thursday, more than 769 people died in a Hajj stampede in Mecca (Saudi Arabia), with over 934 injured. While devotees come from all neighboring countries, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei demands that Saudi Arabia accept responsibility for the stampede and apologize to the families of those who perished .
Iran’s hostility towards Saudi Arabia is precedented by religious and geopolitical tensions. Iran and Saudi Arabia have long been competitors for regional dominance, while the ideological divide between Iranian Shiites and Saudi Arabian Sunnis contributes to disparate religious views within the nations .
As all Muslims–topping 1.5 billion–are required to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime, Iran–and others–is adamant that safety measures be taken to prevent future tragedy . Mecca is a site where millions of worshipping Muslims gather under peaceable terms; all groups hope to preserve these conditions .
by Bradford Lin ’18