Contradictory reports about the health of Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi were finally put to rest as it was announced in Tehran that the 70-year-old influential figure passed away on Monday.
A relative of the ayatollah told the official IRNA agency that he died Monday morning. This means initial reports of his passing were true.
Shahroudi who was suffering from cancer and was treated in Germany a year ago had not been seen in public since mid-summer. He was the chairman of the top Islamic Republic arbitration panel; the Expediency Discernment Council (EDC), appointed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Shahroudi, who was earlier the head of Iran’s judiciary for a decade, was accused of presiding over the killings of hundreds of prisoners and other gross violations of civil and human rights.
Many believed he could be the most likely successor to Khamenei, with his conservative credentials and his relatively younger age compared with other senior clerics in Iran.
Shahroudi who was born in Iraq moved to Iran when Islamists took over Iran’s post-revolutionary government in 1979. He was trusted by both the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini and his successor Ali Khamenei.