News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIran’s Supreme Leader blames US for Iraq stampede

Iran’s Supreme Leader blames US for Iraq stampede

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Sep. 01 – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a statement carried on Thursday by the official news agency, IRNA, blamed the United States for a deadly stampede in the Iraqi holy town of Kazimiya on Wednesday which left close to 1,000 people dead after panic broke out among worshippers. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Sep. 01 – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a statement carried on Thursday by the official news agency, IRNA, blamed the United States for a deadly stampede in the Iraqi holy town of Kazimiya on Wednesday which left close to 1,000 people dead after panic broke out among worshippers.

Khamenei said that the attacks occurred at the hands of “those created by the enemy [United States”>”, adding, “For certain, the occupiers of Iraq, who under the guise of security have forced their evil presence on the people of Iraq, are responsible for such destructive accidents and must be held accountable”.

Khamenei’s comments were mirrored by state-owned dailies which also laid the blame for the attack on U.S.-led Multi-National Force in Iraq.

In a front-page article entitled “Massacre in Kazimiya under the eyes of the occupiers”, the hard-line daily Kayhan wrote, “Criminal mercenaries in Kazimiya brought about bloodshed to the pilgrims of Imam Moussa Kazem under the eyes of the occupiers”.

Kayhan, close to Iran’s Supreme Leader, added that Shiites stood to benefit from the constitution being approved in parliament and that it could “cut the hands of the occupiers from Iraq”.

“This matter has led the occupiers to prevent the creation of a safe and unified Iraq by killing the pilgrims in Kazimiya through their direct and indirect mercenaries as well as by creating a civil war”, Kayhan added.

In comments which could heighten ethnic divisions between the Shiites and the Sunnis, Kayhan wrote that Shiite leaders in the transitional government encouraged Shiites to turn out en masse on the occasion of the anniversary of the martyrdom of Moussa Kazem, Shiite Islam’s 7th Imam, “to counter the demonstration by Sunnis who oppose Iraq’s constitution”.

At least 965 worshippers were killed when panic erupted after rumours spread about the presence of suicide bombers among the crowd. A stampede broke out as worshippers tried to cross a bridge over the Tigris River to flee the site. Many drowned or were crushed to death, and several hundred others were left injured.

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