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The untold story from the deaths at Hajj

The untold story from the deaths at Hajj


Iran mentioned it held the Saudi monarch personally accountable for the deaths in excess of 2,300 people, 464 of these Iranians AFP/Getty

He was smart, from time to time humorous and detailed in the replies to my questions. Formally, he was an attaché at Iran’s high-walled, black-colored embassy in Beirut, but in 1996 I figured Ghadanfar Rokon Abadi was an Iranian intelligence officer. He used his neat black beard well-trimmed and when his eyes looked over the age of his 4 decades, his British was heavily accented but impeccable, his manners polite almost to begin exaggeration.

He joked beside me during the day an Israeli helicopter all of a sudden made an appearance past the embassy compound in the height of Israel’s so-known as Operation Grapes of Wrath invasion of southern Lebanon. “We all anxiously waited for this to fight us,” he stated. “It didn’t come. Only then do we thought it might attack our homes close to the compound. Obviously i was afraid!”

Rokon Abadi understood a great deal about weapons. And that he always expressed his readiness for “martyrdom”. He would be a tough man and, through the years, I figured he never explained wrong. He was frank about Iran’s financial and military support for that Lebanese Hizballah, as well as made an appearance before students in a Christian college in east Beirut to protect his country. True, he maintained there the Egyptian revolution ought to be supported while Syria’s shouldn’t – Syria’s revolution began neither on poverty or oppression, he contended with awe-inspiring insufficient subtlety – but he fought against his corner and was adamant that Iran’s theocracy seemed to be representative because its parliament was elected.

Iran: Thousands mourn victims of Hajj stampede

This Year, Iran had sent him to Beirut to get its ambassador annually later, once the revolution against Iran’s Syrian ally Bashar al-Assad broke, he found themself in a single of individuals blind corners that each diplomat must detest. It had been one factor to aid Hizballah potential to deal with Israel quite another to describe Hisballah’s support for Syria in the fight from the Syrian resistance around Damascus. When Iran’s then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Lebanon and toured the south of the nation to gaze within the border at Israel – or occupied Palestine, because the Iranians known as it – and promise to “liberate” Jerusalem, Rokon Abadi was there, smiling beside his president. But he would be a lucky man, a minimum of for the moment.

When Sunni Islamists, apparently with Saudi support, staged a suicide attack against his embassy in November 2013, killing 23 embassy employees, Hizballah pads and civilians, Rokon Abadi only agreed to be departing the consular structures for any trip into Beirut. The blast almost broke lower the truly amazing iron gates from the embassy and taken past Rokon Abadi, departing him untouched but his top security man dead.

I last saw him within the embassy whenever we launched into a heated discussion of Iran’s dying penalty where, I’m afraid, he found me very hostile. Iran had decreed that the youthful Iranian Azeri lady charged of infidelity should hang in Tabriz, and that i protested against her dying sentence. What right did Iran need to choose which of God’s creatures should live or die, I requested, most famously following a grossly unfair trial? Rokon Abadi was shocked and attempted to describe, comfortably however with growing unease, the Iranian judiciary was independent and the man along with other government officials didn’t have control of its decisions. The lady was pardoned, but Rokon Abadi didn’t pardon me.

Although certainly one of his officials supported me to my vehicle, speaking even while from the Koran’s knowledge on guilt and punishment, the before I saw the ambassador – in a Pakistan national day reception that they fled as soon as it switched right into a Pakistani ladies’ fashion show – he could scarcely bring themself to shake hands beside me. He came back to Tehran in 2014 among its top diplomats and, I felt sure, among its wisest intelligence men. Then, fatally, he continued the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca this past year and, on 24 September, was distracted by the mass panic at Mina and mysteriously disappeared.

Iran mentioned it held the Saudi monarch – formally the “keeper” from the Holy Host to Mecca – personally accountable for the deaths in excess of 2,300 people, 464 of these Iranians who was simply “deliberately mistreated”, included in this senior officials from the Islamic Republic. Only days later made it happen emerge the most senior of individuals officials to die was Ghadanfar Rokon Abadi. No question the Iranians were enraged.

Could this genuinely have been only a terrifying accident, an emergency of immense proportions for thus many pilgrims which in fact had, simply by chance, cost the existence of Rokon Abadi? In the last two several weeks, two Iranian-Saudi negotiations happen to be held to set up 2010 Hajj. They unsuccessful to achieve agreement because, based on Tehran, there have been no specific security intends to safeguard Iranian pilgrims and also the Sunni Saudis wouldn’t permit the Iranians to stage their traditional Shiite demonstration “bera’at al-moshrekin”, “distancing themselves from idolatry”. It had been always left with other pilgrims to determine if the “idol-worshippers” were the Saudi monarchy or even the U . s . States and Israel.

There was previous bans around the Iranians. Later, anti-US and anti-Israeli demonstrations by pilgrims have been crushed by Saudi forces who wiped out 402 civilians, 275 of these Iranians. This, obviously, what food was in the peak from the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war by which Iraq’s invading forces were militarily based on vast Saudi financial subventions and US military assistance. The Iraqi government is today under Iran’s security umbrella however the Saudis could scarcely turn Arab pilgrims from Mecca so Iraqis will make the Hajj, Iranians wouldn’t.

The dispute fits very nicely in to the incendiary conflict between Tehran and Riyadh that now flows bloodstream to the battlefields of Syria, Iraq and Yemen, the Sunnis largely suffering for that Saudis, the Shiites for Iran. One of the Shiite victims, it’s now obvious, was Ghadanfar Rokon Abadi, the courtly diplomat who understood much about weapons and who spoke in my experience about dying and martyrdom and who met his fate in Islam’s holiest city.

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December 2016
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