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Iran's envoy to Yemen Hasan Irlu dies of covid

Iran Ambassador to Yemen, Hasan Irlu
Iran Ambassador to Yemen, Hasan Irlu 8 December 2020 [aymanatta82/Twitter]

Iran's Ambassador to Sanaa, Hasan Irlu, has died of COVID-19 after having been repatriated last week.

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.

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.

READ: Why are the Houthis negotiating for the Iranian ambassador's departure from Sanaa? 

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.

READ: Saudi-led coalition hits Yemen's Sanaa airport

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CoronavirusIranMiddle EastNewsYemen
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