The deadly coronavirus has added yet another victim to its growing death toll with Mohammad Mirmohammadi -- who has been described as Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's top aide and close confidant. He is not the only lawmaker to have succumbed to the disease, highlighting the growing crisis in the Middle Eastern nation.
Mirmohammadi, who was 71 years old, was a member of the Expediency Discernment Council -- a body that advises the Ayatollah and settles disputes with parliament. According to The Associated Press, Mirmohammadi marks the 66th death in Iran. However, many foreign policy experts have claimed that the number of fatalities is likely far higher.
The 71-year-old reportedly died at a hospital in north Tehran, and his mother also passed away from COVID-19 in the days leading up to his death.
Although Mirmohammadi was not a household name in Iran, he had worked quietly behind the scenes in Iran's theocracy for decades. He served as a top official to both President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and President Ali Khamenei, who is now the country's supreme leader.
Mirmohammadi is the third and most high-profile Iranian lawmaker that has died of the virus.
Another victim of the illness was the newly elected member of the Iranian parliament, Mohammad Ali Ramazani Dastak, who passed away a few days ago on February 29. Additionally, it was recently announced that Iran's first-ever ambassador to the Vatican, Hadi Khosroshahi, had also died at 81 years old.A number of other lawmakers in Iran have also come down with the disease.
Among those diagnosed include Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar -- who was also a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy hostage-takers in 1979 while working under the name Sister Mary. Earlier this week, she was seen having a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, sparking concerns for his safety.
In addition, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi has also caught the disease. Harirchi recently made waves on social media after appearing to cough and perspire throughout a press conference covering the epidemic. Ironically, Harirchi is in charge of a coronavirus task force that has tried to downplay the crisis.
Currently, Iran is the country with the highest number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities outside of China.
Reportedly, Iran was the source of New York's first-reported coronavirus case. According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, the 30-year-old patient is believed to have contracted the illness during her recent trip to Iran, as previously reported by The Inquisitr.