Top adviser to Iranian supreme leader dies as coronavirus continues to sweep through Iran and beyond

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A senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei became the latest casualty of Coronavirus on Monday. He was 71.

Mohammad Mirmohammadi was an Expediency Council member who advised Khamenei and settled disputes between him and parliament. He died at a Tehran hospital, becoming the first top official to succumb to the illness in the Islamic Republic, which has the highest death toll outside China.

Sixty-six people have so far died of COVID-19 in Iran, where there are more than 1,500 confirmed cases.

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Other key Iranian officials who have come down with the illness are Masoumeh Ebtekar, a vice president better known as “Sister Mary,” who served as spokeswoman for the students who seized the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979.

Also sick of the virus is Iraj Harirchi, the head of a government task force on the coronavirus who initially tried to downplay the pathogen.

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Government spokesman Ali Rabiei, who addressed reporters by teleconference amid concerns over the virus, acknowledged the challenges remaining for the country.

“We will have two difficult weeks ahead,” he said.

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