Iran cleric who helped found IRGC, Hezbollah in Lebanon dies of COVID-19

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Former Iranian interior minister and one of the founders of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur, has died of COVID-19, the US-funded Iranian broadcast service Radio Farda reported on Tuesday, based on local reports.
This was later confirmed by multiple news outlets, including the Associated Press.Mohtashamipur, who died at the age of 74, was Shi’ite cleric who, according to religious tradition, was a direct descendent of the Prophet Mohammed, according to AP. He was a steadfast ally of Ayatollah Khomeini, who overthrew Iran’s government in the 1979 revolution and established the Islamic Republic of Iran. After having formed multiple alliances with Islamic militant groups in the region, Mohtashamipur would later play a role in founding Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to the AP. Later, while serving as Iran’s ambassador to Syria, he would help with the merging of multiple radical groups and form the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi’ite terrorist organization Hezbollah, which remains a powerful force in the region and is one of Iran’s most infamous proxies. In addition, he is believed by some to have overseen Hezbollah suicide bombing attacks, such as the 1983 attack against the US Embassy in Beirut. Iran and Hezbollah continue to deny involvement in these attacks, but the US believes otherwise, according to AP.Mohtashamipur was also famous for having been the target of an Israeli assassination attempt in 1984. According to author and journalist Ronen Bergman, an assassination attempt on Mohtashamipur was personally signed off on by then-Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir. The operation involved a package marked as containing a book on Shi’ite holy places being sent to the then-ambassador and detonated. The attack severely wounded Mohtashamipur, and cost him a hand. Israeli involvement was suspected in the attack, but it was unconfirmed until revealed by Bergman in 2018.
Though a member of Iran’s hardline radicals for a large portion of his career, Mohtashamipur would later join the reformists, and disputed the controversial 2009 reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s president.After this, he began living in the holy Shi’ite city of Najaf, Iraq, for 10 years.According to Iran’s semi-official state news agency IRNA, Mohtashamipur died in a hospital in Tehran. 

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if(window.location.pathname.indexOf(“656089”) != -1){console.log(“hedva connatix”);document.getElementsByClassName(“divConnatix”)[0].style.display =”none”;}Iranian judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner who is considered by many to be the frontrunner in Iran’s upcoming presidential elections and the likely replacement for President Hassan Rouhani, gave his condolences to Mohtashamipur’s family.

“The deceased was one of the holy warriors on the way to the liberation of Jerusalem and one of the pioneers in the fight against the usurping Zionist regime,” Raisi said, according to the AP, citing IRNA.Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.