Iranian founder of Lebanon’s Hezbollah dies due to COVID-19 infection

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A former Iranian lawmaker and one of the founders of Hezbollah in Lebanon died due to a coronavirus infection on Monday, the official IRNA news agency reported.

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Ali-Akbar Mohtashamipour, who was 75 at the time of his death, had been living in the Iraqi city of Najaf for the past few years. After contracting the coronavirus, he was moved to the Iranian capital Tehran where he was hospitalized in a Revolutionary Guards-owned hospital until he died.

Mohtashamipour was one of five Iranian officials who played a key role in establishing Hezbollah in Lebanon in the 1980s.

Another one of the five officials was Hossein Sheikholeslam, a diplomat who also died from the coronavirus last year.

Mohtashamipour served as interior minister in the 1980s and later as an MP. He also served as an advisor to former reformist president Mohammad Khatami in the late 1990s.

The mid-ranking cleric was also a member of the Association of Combatant Clerics, the main reformist political party in Iran.

Several Iranian officials have died from the coronavirus since it was first detected in Iran in February 2020.

As of Sunday, the virus has killed more than 81,000 people and infected nearly 3 million in Iran, according to health ministry figures.

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