Iran ambassador to Yemen dies of Covid-19

Tehran says Hassan Irloo has died after contracting coronavirus

Hassan Irloo attends a Mawlid celebration at a square in Sana'a, Yemen,  October 29, 2020. EPA

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Iran's envoy to the Houthi movement in Yemen died on Tuesday after contracting coronavirus, Iranian state TV reported.

The death of Hassan Irloo came after he was flown home on an Iraqi plane from war-torn Yemen for what Iran described as medical treatment. Saudi Arabia reportedly helped facilitate the repatriation.

State-run media in Iran said he had become infected with the virus in Yemen, where a war between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and a government-backed by the Saudi-led coalition has raged for six years.

The ministry said Mr Irloo was in need of urgent medical care after becoming sicker several days after being infected with the virus.

“In order to transfer him to our country for treatment, the Foreign Ministry conducted consultations with some regional countries to prepare for his transfer, ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told state media.

Mr Irloo was appointed by Tehran in October last year as its ambassador to Sanaa. The US government has said he is a member of Iran's elite overseas arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Forces.

The US State Department under then-president Donald Trump described Mr Irloo as a member of the corps responsible for projecting power into Yemen, Syria and elsewhere.

"We have lost a great friend," Houthi deputy foreign minister Hussein Al Ezzi said on Twitter.

Updated: December 21st 2021, 4:02 PM