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Former Iran Parliament Speaker In Hospital With COVID-19 For Second Time

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani gives a press conference at the Iranian embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut, February 17, 2020

The former Iranian Parliament Speaker and current member of the Expediency Council Ali Larijani has been hospitalized for COVID-19 for a second time. Larijani tested positive for COVID-19 in early April for the first time.

Iranian news agencies have reported that Larijani is in an unnamed hospital for "complemental treatments" and his health condition is "satisfactory". According to these reports, the former Parliament Speaker is expected to be released from hospital within the next few days given the improvement in his condition.

According to the latest official announcement on Thursday, 16,569 Iranians have died of COVID-19 since February including 226 in the last 24-hour reporting period. Since mid-June COVID-19 infections and deaths have been on the increase and the capital Tehran and many of the country's provinces have alarmingly high new cases.

Several former and current Iranian officials including former lawmaker Fetemeh Rahbar, Assembly of Experts member Hashem Bat'hai-Golpaygani and former Iranian ambassador in Lebanon Hossein Sheikh ol-Eslam have died of coronavirus since the outbreak in February.

Many other officials including First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, spokesman of the cabinet of President Ali Rabiei as well as several lawmakers have tested positive for the virus.

The Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been in self-isolation since the very early days of the pandemic and cancelled all his public appearances but he did make an exception for the visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi who he met in person on July 21.

The 61-year-old Larijani presided over the Iranian parliament for twelve years but decided not to run in the February elections.

Larijani, a former top political advisor to the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, represented the city of Qom where the first cases of coronavirus were detected in the country and soon spread to other parts.

Although renowned for being close to the extremist allies of the Supreme Leader, Larijani supported the so-called moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani in his two successful presidential campaigns.