March 6, 2020
The deepening COVID-19 or coronavirus crisis in Iran continues to take the lives of prominent political and religious leaders. The latest casualty is Ayatollah Mohsen Habibi, the custodian of a seminary in Tehran and a deputy to the head of Iran’s Judiciary., Ali Khalafi.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has expressed his condolences to the family of Ayatollah Habibi in a statement published on his official website. The head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raeesi also has extended his condolences for the death of his deputy.
So far, Iran has announced over 100 coronavirus deaths, but a disproportionate number of victims are from the elite. This has raised questions if the official death toll is well below the real number.
On March 5, Iranian media announced the death of Hossein Sheikholeslam, a former diplomat and one of the revolutionaries who took American diplomats hostage for 444 days in 1979-1981.
More than twenty members of the Iranian parliament are diagnosed with coronavirus. One newly elected lawmaker also died of the disease last week. Three former and current members of the Revolutionary Guard have also fallen victim to the virus.
The chairman of Iran’s Central Bank has issued a statement expressing regret for the death of six “banking officials” who succumbed to coronavirus.