Coronavirus: Latest Iran officials to become infected or die

Iran’s Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani is the latest Iranian official to test positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of regime officials with the virus to 14, according to reports by state media outlets.

Larijani was tested after showing respiratory symptoms then he was placed in quarantine and is undergoing treatment, the official IRNA news agency reported on Thursday.

At least 13 other Iranian officials have been confirmed to have the virus, according to state media.

 

Former Foreign Minister and advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in foreign affairs Ali Akbar Velayati has been infected with coronavirus, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported last month.

Tasnim added on Sunday that the 75-year-old has recovered from the virus.

 

Iran’s first Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri is another official who has been infected, according to a report by the semi-official Fars news agency on March 11.

Fars reported on the same day that Tourism Minister Ali Asghar Mounesan and member of the Expediency Council Mohammad Ali Iravani have also been infected with the coronavirus. Iravani is also a member of Supreme Leader Khamenei’s office.

 

The virus has also infected Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, Minister of Industry Reza Rahmani, and former Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi.

Several lawmakers have also been infected, including Mojtaba Zolnour, Zohreh Elahian and Masoumeh Aghapour Alishahi.

 

Twenty-three out of 100 members of parliament who have been tested for coronavirus have the virus, the spokesman of the Iranian parliament’s presiding board Asadollah Abbasi said on Tuesday.

Forty other members of parliament are suspected of having the virus, Abbasi added.

Former deputy speaker of parliament Mohammad Reza Khatami also tested positive for coronavirus, according to a report by Tasnim on Saturday.

 

A prominent figure in the reformist faction in Iran, Khatami was among supporters of the Islamic Revolution who occupied the US embassy in Tehran and took 52 US diplomats hostage in 1979.

Khatami was the deputy speaker of parliament from 2000 to 2004.

He is the younger brother of former president Mohammad Khatami.

Coronavirus has also killed at least 17 regime figures, including military commanders, clerics and politicians.

 

Senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Nasser Shabani died from coronavirus, the IRGC said on March 13.

In an unusual admission, Shabani had explicitly said in August 2018 that the Iran-backed Houthi militia carried out Iran’s orders by attacking two Saudi tankers in Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

“We told the Yemenis to attack the two Saudi tankers, and they attacked,” Shabani was quoted as saying by several Iranian state media outlets.

Hossein Asadollahi, another senior IRGC commander, is suspected to have died from coronavirus.

 

Several state news agencies reported on Saturday that Asadollahi died of “chemical injuries” sustained during the eight-year-long war with Iraq (1980-1988).

Some Iranian exile run media outlets however reported that Asadollahi died of coronavirus.

According to official statistics, 150,000 in Iran have lung damage from exposure to chemical weapons during the war with Iraq.

These individuals are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus.

 

Iranian authorities organized a funeral procession for Asadollahi on March 23 which was attended by hundreds in Tehran, despite the capital being one of the worst-hit provinces by the coronavirus pandemic in Iran.

Habib Barzegari, a founding member of the IRGC, died of coronavirus, state media reported on March 24.

Ayatollah Hashem Bathaei-Golpaygani, a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, also died from coronavirus, IRNA reported on March 16.

Iran’s Assembly of Experts is a clerical body that supervises, appoints and in theory, can sack the Supreme Leader.

 

Bathaei-Golpaygani had blamed the coronavirus outbreak on the US prior to his death.

“In my opinion, America is the source of coronavirus … American soldiers produced and spread the virus in China,” he said in a speech on February 22.

Former Iranian lawmaker Hamid Kahram also died from coronavirus, state media reported on March 19.

 

Kahram was the head of current Iranian president Hassan Rouhani’s campaign in Khuzestan province during the 2017 presidential election.

Other notable confirmed deaths from the virus in the Iranian regime include former ambassador to Syria Hossein Sheikholeslam, former lawmaker Mohammadreza Rahchamani, lawmakers Fatemeh Rahbar and Mohammad Ali Ramezani, Expediency Council Mohammad Mirmohammadi, and former ambassador to the Vatican cleric Hadi Khosroshahi.

Several other regime figures have been infected and killed by coronavirus in Iran.

As of Thursday, 3,160 in Iran have died from coronavirus, and there are 50,468 confirmed cases.

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