Saudi deaths: Tehran urged to speed up probe as foul play suspected

Updated 10 June 2015
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Saudi deaths: Tehran urged to speed up probe as foul play suspected

JEDDAH: The Foreign Ministry has summoned the Iranian ambassador to express its concern over the deaths of four Shiite Saudi children in his country, and to urge Tehran to speed up its investigation.
Osama Nugali, head of media at the Saudi Foreign Ministry, said there was “deep sorrow” in government at the news that four young Saudis had died and 28 others got sick from what appears to be a poisonous chemical they had inhaled while in their rooms in Mashhad on Sunday.
“The Saudi Foreign Ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador to the Kingdom and expressed its deep concern at the incident, and its hope that the Iranian authorities speed up the investigation and disclose the circumstances involved,” he said.
Nugali said that shortly after the incident occurred, the charge d’affaires and officials at the consulate in Mashhad went to the hotel to check on the Saudis and provide support, including, medical care.
The embassy also communicated with the Iranian Foreign Ministry and other departments in Mashhad to launch an investigation. “The incident is a matter of concern and the Saudi government is following up on the case,” Nugali said.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Health Minister Hassan Hashemi was reported as saying on Tuesday that the Saudis “may have been deliberately poisoned.”
Hashemi said that the poison was from a fumigation operation in the hotel where the Saudis were staying. Traces of this poison were found in samples of blood taken from the deceased, but a probe was under way, he said.
Hashemi said 32 Saudi visitors were poisoned, of whom four died and seven are being treated in the intensive care unit of a local hospital.
Mohammad Qanie, president of the hotel owners’ association in Mashhad, in northeast Iran, said the manager of Al-Tawhid Hotel in the city was arrested and the building closed. The hotel was licensed and had no previous problems, he said.


Saudi Arabia gains membership to IAEA's board of governors for two years

Updated 29 min 18 sec ago

Saudi Arabia gains membership to IAEA's board of governors for two years

RIYADH:  Saudi Arabia has won membership to the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency for a period of two years, Saudi Press Agency reported.  
The board is responsible for making most of the policy of the IAEA. It makes recommendations to the general conference on IAEA activities and budget.