Coronavirus: In Iran, 17 regime figures have died

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At least 17 figures in the Iranian regime have died from coronavirus, and 13 others have been infected since the beginning of the outbreak in the Islamic Republic, according to reports by state media outlets.

As of Monday, 2,640 in Iran have died from coronavirus, and there are 38,309 confirmed cases.

Former deputy speaker of parliament Mohammad Reza Khatami has been the latest prominent figure in Iran to be infected with coronavirus, according to a report by the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Saturday.

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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.

At least 12 other regime figures in Iran have been infected, according to reports by state media outlets.

Iran’s first Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri is one of the infected officials, 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 Ayatollah Ali 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.

Read more: Iran developing stem-cell therapy for coronavirus: Tasnim news agency

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

Habib Barzegari, a founding member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), died of coronavirus, state media reported last week.

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.

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

Iran’s Assembly of Experts is a clerical body that supervises and appoints the Supreme Leader. In theory, it is also capable of unseating 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.

Senior IRGC commander Nasser Shabani also died from coronavirus, the IRGC said on March 13.

In an unusual admission, Shabani had explicitly said in August 2018 that the 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 Iran’s eight-year-long war with Iraq.

Read more: Iran warns of lengthy ‘new way of life’ as coronavirus deaths rise

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

According to official statistics, 150,000 in Iran have lung injuries from exposure to chemical weapons during the 1980-1988 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.

Read more: Coronavirus: Iran and allies call for the US to waive sanctions

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.

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