A long-serving, senior Revolutionary Guard general has died of coronavirus in Iran on Friday, March 13.
Lt. General Nasser Sha’abani was a member of Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) for 37 years and had held many senior posts and commands in Iran’s elite military force.
His record includes deputy commander of IRGC’s Sarollah unit in Tehran, which is tasked with protecting the regime particularly against internal dissent. He was also commander of IRGC in the western province of Kermanshah, where his forces fought against the opposition Mojahedin fighters in the 1980s, who were based in Iraq and had crossed into Iran to overthrow the Islamic Republic.
Sha’abnai also led operations against leftist opposition groups in the years immediately following the establishment of Iran’s clerical regime.
The coronavirus epidemic has hit the Islamic Republic establishment, killing several well-known politicians and clerics. Currently, two of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s close aides are quarantined with the virus. President Hassan Rouhani’s first deputy Es’haq Jahangiri is also infected and several ministers, as well as members of parliament.
The government says that as of March 13 more than 11,000 people have tested positive for the virus and more than 500 have died. But independent sources, including Radio Farda have estimated at least double of that number have fell victim to coronavirus.