Monday, March 2, 2020

Top adviser to Iranian supreme leader Khamenei dies of coronavirus

A close adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei died Monday of the coronavirus at the age of 71.

Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi died at a Tehran hospital, becoming the first top official to succumb to the illness in the Islamic Republic.

As of Monday, 66 people have died of COVID-19 in Iran, where there are more than 1,500 confirmed cases.


Other key officials who have come down with the illness are Masoumeh Ebtekar, a vice president better known as “Sister Mary,” who served as spokeswoman for the students who seized the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979.

Also ailing is Iraj Harirchi, the head of a government task force on the coronavirus who initially tried to downplay the virus.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei, who addressed reporters by teleconference amid concerns over the virus, acknowledged the challenges remaining for the country.

“We will have two difficult weeks ahead,” he said.

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