Top aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dies of coronavirus

A member of a council that advises Iran’s supreme leader died Monday after falling sick from the new coronavirus, state radio reported, becoming the first top official to succumb to the illness that is affecting members of the Islamic Republic’s leadership, the Associated Press reports.

Mohammad Mirmohammadi died at a north Tehran hospital of the virus, state radio said. He was 71.

The council advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as settles disputes between the top cleric and parliament.

His death comes as other top officials have contracted the virus in Iran.

Those sick include Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, better known as “Sister Mary.” Also sick is Iraj Harirchi, the head of an Iranian government task force on the coronavirus who tried to downplay the virus before falling ill.

Iran has reported 978 confirmed cases of the new virus with 54 deaths from the illness it causes, called COVID-19.

Iran has the highest death toll in the world after China, the epicenter of the outbreak.

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