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Contradictory Reports On Possible Death Of Ayatollah Shahroudi

Members of Expediency Discernment Council (L-R) Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi and Ali Larijani

While some media outlets in Iran reported that Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroodi who was earlier said to be in intensive care has passed away, the official government news agency IRNA and state -controlled ISNA say he is in coma.

Fars, Mehr and Tasnim news agencies reported that Shahroudi, a senior cleric and official, and a conservative ally of the Supreme leader has died. ISNA says this is not confirmed yet. IRNA quoted the director of the hospital where he is being treated as denying the news of his death.

The hospital official told IRNA, “Of course he is in coma and in the intensive care unit and his condition is serious”.

Fars, quoting one of his doctors reports that “In medical terms he cannot be revived but the news of his death has to be confirmed by the family.”

Shahroudi 70, who was the head of Iran’s judiciary for a decade is accused of presiding over the killing of hundreds of prisoners and other gross violations of civil and human rights.

Last December he was in Germany for medical care and German prosecutors were exploring whether to file charges against him. However, in January he returned to Iran.

The senior cleric was appointed by Khamenei as chairman of Expediency Discernment Council (EDC) in the summer of 2017, after the controversial death of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani a key politician and power-broker from the early days of Iran’s revolution. But since mid-summer Shahroudi disappeared from public view and skipped EDC meetings.

The EDC had been under the chairmanship of Rafsanjani since its inception. The council is tasked by the constitution to act as arbiter between parliament and the Guardian Council, which must approve all legislation, to make sure compatibility with Islamic laws and increasingly, with Khamenei’s wishes.