A prominent Iranian cleric has died from the coronavirus infection. Ayatollah Hashem Bathaie Golpayenagi, who represented Tehran at Iran’s Council of Experts, is the latest high-profile Iranian figure killed by the disease.

Bathaie Golpayenagi was reported infected on Sunday, becoming the first member of the Council of Experts diagnosed with the virus.

He died on Monday morning at the Shahid Beheshti Hospital in Qom province, where he was being treated along with over a thousand other patients, IRNA news agency reported.

The body he was part of is an elected assembly tasked with appointing the supreme leader of Iran and dismissing him under certain circumstances. Members are not required to be clerics, but have to be proficient in Islam jurisprudence.

Iran is among the countries hit hardest by the infection. As of Sunday, there were almost 14,000 confirmed cases reported by the Iranian Health Ministry, with the death toll standing at 724.

 

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