Iran confirms the death of its envoy to Yemen’s Houthis after COVID-19 infection

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Iran’s top diplomat to Yemen died on Tuesday after reportedly contracting the coronavirus, the Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

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The death of Ambassador Hassan Irlu came after he was recalled from war-torn Yemen for what Iran described as medical treatment.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Irlu was being removed from his post over growing strains between Iran and the Houthi militia, who hold Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

State-run media in Iran said he had become infected with the virus in Yemen, where a war between Iran-backed Houthis and an Arab Coalition has raged for six years.

The US State Department under then-President Donald Trump had described Irlu as a member of Iran’s powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

As for the latest US diplomatic efforts to resolve the yearslong war in Yemen, State Department Spokesman Ned Price said the Houthis continue to pose a “serious obstacle” to peace efforts.

Welcoming recent UN Security Council statements to condemn the Houthi offensive and actions in Yemen, Price said the Iran-backed group was also exacerbating the humanitarian conditions on the ground.

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Iran envoy to Houthis leaves Yemen for COVID-19 treatment: Ministry

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