September 28, 2015 / 5:54 PM / 3 years ago

Iran raise its haj death toll to 226, 246 still missing

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran raised the death toll of its nationals at the disaster at the haj in Saudi Arabia to 226 on Monday from 169 and said President Hassan Rouhani was cutting short his visit to the U.N. General Assembly in New York to attend their funerals.

Policemen clash with demonstrators during a protest against Saudi Arabia after a crush in which at least 155 Iranians were killed at the haj pilgrimage, in front of Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran September 27, 2015.REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

Iran’s head of haj organization, Saeed Ohadi, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency that 246 Iranians were also still unaccounted for.

Rouhani will arrive in Tehran on Tuesday morning, state news agency IRNA said, the same day that some of the bodies of the victims were being transferred to Iran.

Iranian officials have said the overall total death toll in the crush on Thursday near Mecca is more than 1,000. Saudi Arabia has confirmed the deaths of 769 people.

Iran has demanded an apology from Saudi Arabia over the deaths and accused it of trying to evade blame, while Riyadh accused Tehran of playing politics with the disaster.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Alison Williams

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