Virus Kills Member Of Council Advising Iran’s Supreme Leader

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A member of a council that advises Iran’s supreme chief died Monday after falling sick from the brand new coronavirus, state radio reported, turning into the primary prime official to succumb to the sickness that has effects on members of the Islamic Republic’s management.

Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi died at a Tehran hospital of the virus, state radio mentioned. He was 71.

The council advises Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in addition to settles disputes between the supreme chief and parliament.

His dying comes as different prime officers have contracted the virus in Iran, which has the very best dying toll on the earth after China, the epicenter of the outbreak. 

These sick included embrace Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, higher generally known as “Sister Mary,” the English-speaking spokeswoman for the scholars who seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and sparked the 444-day hostage disaster, state media reported. Additionally sick is Iraj Harirchi, the top of an Iranian authorities activity pressure on the coronavirus who tried to downplay the virus earlier than falling unwell.

Iran has reported 978 confirmed instances of the brand new virus with 54 deaths from the sickness it causes, referred to as COVID-19. Throughout the broader Mideast, there are over 1,150 instances of the brand new coronavirus, the vast majority of that are linked again to Iran.

Consultants fear Iran’s share of deaths to infections, round 5.5%, is way larger than different international locations, suggesting the variety of infections in Iran could also be a lot larger than present figures present.

Making an attempt to stem the outbreak of the brand new coronavirus, Iran on Monday held an online-only briefing by its International Ministry.

International Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi opened the net information convention addressing the outbreak, dismissing a suggestion of assist for Iran by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Iran and the U.S. have seen among the worst tensions since its 1979 Islamic Revolution in current months, culminating within the American drone strike that killed a prime Iranian normal in Baghdad and a subsequent Iranian ballistic missile counterattack in opposition to U.S. forces.

“We neither depend on such assist nor are we prepared to simply accept verbal assist,” Mousavi mentioned. He added Iran has at all times been “suspicious” about America’s intentions and accused the U.S. authorities of attempting to weaken Iranians’ spirits over the outbreak.

The British Embassy in the meantime has begun evacuations over the virus.

“Important employees wanted to proceed important work will stay,” the British International Workplace mentioned. “Within the occasion that the scenario deteriorates additional, the flexibility of the British Embassy to offer help to British nationals from inside Iran could also be restricted.”

Whereas Iran has closed faculties and universities to cease the unfold of the virus, main Shiite shrines have remained open regardless of civilian authorities calling for them to be closed. The holy cities of Mashhad and Qom specifically, each house to shrines, have been hard-hit by the virus. Shiites typically contact and kiss shrines as an indication of their religion. Authorities have been cleansing the shrines with disinfectants.

Police have arrested one man who posted a video exhibiting himself licking the metallic enclosing the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, the most-important Shiite saint buried within the nation, in accordance with stories by semiofficial information businesses. Within the video, the person mentioned he licked the metallic to “enable others to go to the shrine with peace of thoughts.”

In the meantime Monday, the virus outbreak noticed itself dragged into the yearslong boycott of Qatar by 4 Arab nations over a political dispute.

A outstanding columnist at Dubai’s government-owned Al-Bayan newspaper on Twitter falsely described the virus as being a plot by Qatar to harm the upcoming Expo 2020 world’s truthful in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Noura al-Moteari later described the tweet as “satire” to The Related Press after it gained widespread consideration.

The Dubai Media Workplace equally described the tweet as being written in a “cynical model” whereas distancing the Arabic-language day by day from al-Moteari.

“Noura is a contract author and isn’t an worker of Al-Bayan nor does she symbolize the publication’s views,” it instructed the AP. “That being mentioned, this has no relevance to any social media coverage being practiced by the publication nor the state.”

The tweet comes after Qatar expressed disappointment Sunday that almost all of its Gulf neighbors snubbed invites to attend the weekend peace signing ceremony between the U.S. and the Taliban.

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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