Intensifying the spar between Saudi Arabia and Iran over the Hajj pilgrimage, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said that "evil" Saudi ruling family does not deserve to manage holy sites like Mecca.
Saudi Arabia has blocked Iranians from travelling for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Islam's holiest places in Saudi Arabia. The decision from the Saudi government came after a fallout of talks between the two countries regarding safety and logistical issues in May.
Khamenei met with the families of the Hajj pilgrimage stampede victims of 2015 and said: "The Saudis' failure and incompetence in this incident proves once again that this cursed, evil family does not deserve to be in charge and manage the holy sites," he was quoted as saying by AFP.
More than 2,000 pilgrims died in a deadly stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage last year. The victims also included hundreds of Iranians.
Khamenei also added that the Saudi government had support from the United States and was trying to "shed blood in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain". "Therefore, America and other supporters of Riyadh are accomplices in Saudi crimes and atrocities," he said.
The Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, also called out to the Muslim world to unite and "punish" the Saudi government for its actions in the region.
"If the existing problems with the Saudi government were merely the issue of the hajj... maybe it would have been possible to find a way to resolve it and put it in the right direction," Rouhani told a cabinet meeting, IRNA state news agency reported.
"Unfortunately, this government by committing crimes in the region and supporting terrorism in fact shed the blood of Muslims in Iraq, Syria and Yemen," Rouhani added.
The Saudi government had said that the death toll in the stampede last year was 769, however, data from more than 30 different countries suggested that the death toll was much higher than was quoted by Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government had also refused to share any details of the investigations conducted into the stampede.