Iranian intelligence minister tests positive for COVID-19

Iran’s minister of intelligence Mahmoud Alavi has tested positive for COVID-19, the Rouydad24 news website reported on Monday. The 66-year-old is reportedly quarantining in his home.

Alavi was appointed minister of Iran’s intelligence ministry after Hassan Rouhani assumed the presidency in 2013.

He was formerly a member of the country’s Assembly of Experts, the body that oversees the actions of supreme leader Khomeini.

Alavi in February made a rare admission that Iran could potentially pursue the development of nuclear weapons if sanctions are not lifted.

COVID-19 cases in Iran have surged in recent weeks with new daily case numbers reaching record highs.

The spike in infections has come weeks after a two-week holiday for Nowruz, the Persian new year celebrations that saw millions flocking to domestic holiday destinations.

Iran’s vaccine rollout has been slow, with at least 462,642 doses having been administered to a population of 84 million.

The pandemic has hit Iran particularly hard. Many top officials have died from the virus including Ayatollah Hashem Bathaei-Golpaygani, who was a member of the Assembly of Experts, and Hamid Kahram, a former member of parliament.

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