On June 7, 2021, the Iranian media reported that Ali Akbar MOHTASHAMIPOUR, a former interior minister and Iranian cleric who is considered the founder of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, died of coronavirus.
He was one of the “radical elements advocating the export of the revolution” in the Iranian clerical hierarchy.
Ali Akbar MOHTASHAMIPOUR spent the last 10 years of his life in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf. He died at a hospital in northern Tehran at the age of 75.
He served as Iran’s ambassador in Syria from 1982 to 1986 and was known as a staunch anti-American who opposed Western influence in Muslim countries.
In 1990 he defended Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait on religious grounds, calling it a war against infidels.
It is also believed MOHTASHAMIPOUR was the target of an Israeli assassination attempt in 1984 while he was ambassador in Damascus where he received a package that exploded, severely wounding him. The bomb exploded when he opened a book, tearing away his right hand and two fingers on his left hand.
He survived, later becoming Iran’s interior minister and serving as a hardline lawmaker in parliament before joining reformists in 2009.
MOHTASHAMIPOUR helped create Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and during his time as the Iranian ambassador to Syria in the early 1980s, he played a key role in Hezbollah’s founding.
He was suspected of involvement in Hezbollah’s bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut and the group’s truck bombing at the US Marine compound in the Lebanese capital in 1983.
In his later years, he slowly joined the cause of reformists in Iran, hoping to change the Islamic Republic’s theocracy from the inside. He backed the opposition leaders Mir Hossein MOUSAVI and Mahdi KARROUBI in Iran’s Green Movement protests that followed the disputed 2009 re-election of then-President Mahmoud AHMADINEJAD.
Ebrahim RAISI, now considered the leading candidate in Iran’s presidential election next week, offered condolences to MOHTASHAMIPOUR’s family.
Several Iranian officials have died of coronavirus since February 2020 when it was for the first time detected.
The virus has killed more than 81,000 people and infected about 3 million, according to sources from the health ministry.
This article was edited using the data from Middleeastmonitor.com, Timesofisrael.com English.alarabiya.net, Al-monitor.com, Iranintl.com and, English.aawsat.com.