Iran’s Foreign Ministry made the announcement on Twitter this morning of the “martyrdom” of Tehran’s ambassador to National Salvation Government (NSG), in reference to the de-facto Houthi-led government based in Sanaa, which is recognised by Iran.
شهادت سفیر جمهوری اسلامی ایران نزد دولت نجات ملی #یمن در اثر ابتلا به کرونا
سخنگوی وزارت امور خارجه: شهید #حسن_ایرلو در محل ماموریت به کرونا مبتلا شد و به دلیل همکاری دیرهنگام برخی کشورها، متاسفانه در شرایط نا مناسبی به کشور بازگشت و سحرگاه امروز به فیض شهادت نایل آمد. pic.twitter.com/rCvCY4NDZk
— 🇮🇷 وزارت امور خارجه (@IRIMFA) December 21, 2021
The ministry’s spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh was quoted as describing Irlu as a “martyr” and a “chemical warfare veteran” of the Iran-Iraq War. He blamed “the late cooperation of some countries” in helping transfer Irlu to Iran for treatment, in an apparent reference to Saudi Arabia which, along with Iraq, had helped Irlu’s transfer to Yemen on board an Iraqi plane.
The Saudi-led coalition which militarily intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the joint Houthi-military takeover of Sanaa has been imposing a blockade on Sanaa International Airport since 2016. Yesterday, the coalition carried out air strikes on the airport after claiming its facilities were being used to launch cross-border attacks.
Among the Houthi officials to react to the news, was head of the national negotiation delegation Mohammad Abdulsalam who offered his “sincere condolences to the Iranian leadership and the dear Iranian people” and to the family of the ambassador.
Irlu has been described by the US as an official in Iran’s elite Quds Force, the overseas arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and it imposed sanctions on him late last year following his appointment by Tehran.