Accessibility links

Breaking News

First Prominent Cleric In Iran Dies Of Coronavirus

Iranian cleric Hadi Khosrowshahi, who died February 27 from coronavirus. FILE PHOTO

The Islamic Republic's first ambassador to Vatican, 81-year old cleric Hadi Khosroshahi, has died of coronavirus in Iran, local media reported.

A prominent figure in Iran’s hole city of Qom, Khosroshahi was a black-turbaned cleric carrying the title of "Sayyid," meaning a descendent of Prophet Muhammad.

Khosroshahi was transferred to a hospital in Tehran on Wednesday and tested positive for Covid-19, publicly known as coronavirus. A day later, he died of respiratory complications.

After two years serving as the representative of the founder of the nascent Islamic regime, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Khosroshahi was appointed as Tehran's ambassador to the Vatican. He was the first Shi'a clergy serving representing the Islamic Republic at the Vatican.

When he was just 15 years old, Khosroshahi joined the leader of militant Fadā'iyān-e Islam (Devotees of Islam), Sayyid Mojtaba Mir-Lohi, nicknamed as Navvab Safavi.

Fadaiiyane-Islam was responsible for a series of assassinations in Iran from 1940s to 1960s, including two Prime Ministers, one Minister of Royal Court, and a prominent anti-Islam scholar.

Khosroshahi was close to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Based on his interviews, in at least two cases, he sought Khomeini's approval for the assassination of the Islamic Republic's first President, Abolhassan Bani Sadr and Iran's last Queen Farah Pahlavi, both living in exile in Paris. Khomeini rejected the idea, Khosroshahi maintains.

However, according to Khosroshahui, the man, briefly introduced as Abu al-Alaa, who had proposed to assassinate the Queen, was later killed in a street battle with the Egyptian security forces in Cairo.

Moreover, during Khomeini's rule from 1979 –1989, several exiled Iranians, including Iran's last monarch's nephew and a former five-star general, were assassinated in Paris.

While in the Vatican, Khosroshahi founded a base for propagating Shi'ism in the West. The headquarters, called "Europe's Islamic Culture Center," is still active today in many western European capitals.

After serving in the Vatican, Khosroshahi was sent to Cairo, where he represented Tehran for two years at the Islamic Republic's Interest Section.

Returning to Iran, Khosroshahi preferred to stay out of the center stage, and focused on compiling theological books related to Shi'ism.