Top adviser to Iran's Khamenei quarantined with coronavirus

Top adviser to Iran's Khamenei quarantined with coronavirus
Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran's former foreign minister and director of Tehran's main hospital for treating COVID-19 patients, has been confirmed to have the disease.
2 min read
13 March, 2020
Velayati was Iran's longest-serving foreign minister and close adviser to Khamenei [Getty]
A key adviser to Iran's supreme leader has been placed in quarantine after contracting the novel coronavirus, Tasnim news agency reported on Thursday.

"Ali Akbar Velayati, who also is the head of Tehran's Masih Daneshvari hospital, had contacts with many coronavirus patients in past few weeks. He has been infected and is under quarantine now," Tasnim said.

Velayati, a paediatrician by profession, directs the hospital which has been the main centre for coronavirus patients.

The 74-year-old, who also advises Khamenei on foreign policy, had experienced "mild symptoms" of the virus that appeared on Wednesday, the agency said.

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He was placed in isolation at his home and given medicine, the agency said, adding that his "general health is improving".

Velayati is a close adviser to Khamenei and was Iran's longest-serving foreign minister from 1981-1997. He stood for president in 2013 but lost to Hassan Rouhani.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed 429 lives in Iran and infected more than 10,000 people, according to the latest toll from the health ministry.

The outbreak in Iran is one of the deadliest outside China, where the disease originated.

Iran’s sluggish response to the outbreak has been widely criticised, with a UN rights expert calling it “too little too late”.

Several politicians and officials both sitting and former have been infected, with some dying from the illness.

Khamenei, who is 80, underwent prostate surgery in 2014. Rumours circulated for many years that he had prostate cancer.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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