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First Group Of Iran Hajj Dead Return Home

Report by VOA; photos by Mohammadreza Alimadadi, Islamic Republic News Agency

Iran is welcoming a plane carrying home the first group of Iranian pilgrims killed in last week's stampede during the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. President Hassan Rouhani was among several senior officials attending a repatriation ceremony Saturday at the Tehran airport as the plane arrived.

The plane is carrying the bodies of 104 of the 464 Iranians killed in the stampede, which has further damaged ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Mismanagement alleged

Iran has blamed the stampede on mismanagement by Saudi Arabia, and Iranians have staged several protests outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had warned that Saudi Arabia would face "harsh" measures if its regional rival did not send the bodies of Iranian pilgrims back home.

President Rouhani was among several senior officials attending the ceremony

Iranians made up, by far, the largest share of the 769 people killed in the September 24 disaster.

There have been multiple deadly stampedes during the hajj, but the one this year was by far the worst since 1990 when more than 1,400 people died.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP

... Payvand News - 10/03/15 ... --

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