Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri has COVID-19, says Fars NewsAgency, as the overall death toll in Iran hits 354.
The latest coronavirus has the senior vice president of Iran and two other members of the cabinet,the semiofficial news agency Fars announced. Wednesday’s news story comes in the wake of days of uncertainty about the wellbeing of Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, who has not been seen in pictures of recent top-level meetings.
Fars said other ill officials are Ali Asghar Mounesan, Minister of Cultural Heritage, Crafts and Tourism and Reza Rahmani, Minister of Industry, Mines and Business. There was no immediate news about the infections on official state newspapers. Iran is among the hardest-hit nations in the world by the infection. Iran’s death toll from the latest coronavirus increased for another straight day, killing 62 morepeople in the past 24 hours as the government raised the death count nationally to 354 on
Iran’s health ministry said the deaths are among some 9,000 reported cases in Iran, where the virus spread to all 31 provinces throughout the world. The vast majority of the 9,700 people across the Middle East who contracted the coronavirus or COVID-19 disease it causes are in hard-hit Iran or have recently returned from it.
The Islamic Republic had one of the highest death tolls in the world outside of the epicenter of the epidemic, Beijing. Just Iraq, Egypt, and Lebanon have reported deaths from the Middle East virus outside of Iran.
There are reports that the number of infections across Iran is far higher than confirmed government-reported cases, which are trying to control the spread of the epidemic. Every day in Iran the growing mortality estimates indicate the battle against the latest coronavirus is far from over.
Among the dead are five members of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Security Corps and an undisclosed number of Basij force’s volunteer security. Iran’s supreme leader said Tuesday that doctors and nurses who die battling the latest coronavirus should be remembered by the Islamic Republic as “martyrs.”
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s announcement comes in the middle of a media machine that already aims to relate the battle against the virus to Iran’s long, bloody war with Iraq in the 1980s. The troops, including virologists, encountered chemical weapons under Saddam Hussein’s rule during Iran’s eight-year war on Iraq.