Eshagh Jahangiri, Iran’s first vice president, has been tested positive for coronavirus [COVID-19], and is undergoing treatment in a secure environment.

An informed source told IranWire that Jahangiri was transferred to his home and began quarantine, along with his family, following the fifth Coronavirus Fight Headquarters meeting on Friday, February 28. He began to show symptoms of the virus, and was tested soon after.

Present at the meeting, which was chaired by Jahangiri, were ministers of science, health, defense, communications, roads and urban planning, education, tourism and handicrafts, the government's spokesperson, head of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization, chairman of the Civil Defense Organization, head of the Health Department of the Armed Forces, a number of Tehran military and police commanders, and a number of senior officials from the Ministry of Health.

At the end of the meeting, Jahangiri ordered the majority of the group to leave, with the exception of a few, including the health minister, according to the Iranian source. Some time later, Jahangiri also left the meeting, and has been in quarantine and under supervision since that time.

The same source said six other cabinet members who showed symptoms of COVID-19 have also been tested, but it is not yet clear whether they have been infected.

The source told IranWire that authorities refrained from transporting Jahangiri to the hospital to try to hide the news that the vice president was infected with COVID-19 from the public and the media — a likely response to mounting accusations that the government has been inefficient and incapable of managing the health crisis. This latest news could be seen as further confirmation of the claims.  

The vice president has not been seen in public since leaving the Coronavirus Fight Headquarters meeting on February 28. During this time, Jahangiri has tweeted once and has made at least one phone call, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).

The first vice president's younger brother, Mohammad Jahangiri, who is the deputy of the Medial Council of the Islamic Republic, was hospitalized at Masih Daneshvari Hospital on Tuesday, March 3 after showing symptoms of COVID-19. Mohammad Jahangiri is thought to have attended several Medial Council meetings regarding COVID-19 in recent days. Previously, it was also reported that Hossein Kermanpour, director of public relations at the Medial Council, had also been infected with the coronavirus.

On Monday March 2, Eshaq Jahangiri tweeted: "Coronavirus can be contained in Iran by national will and solidarity and by decisive and practical preventive measures."

On March 3, Jahangiri also sent his condolences to the family of the Paralympic weightlifting referee Siamand Rahman, who died of a suspected heart attack on March 1.

ISNA reported that the Governor-General of East Azerbaijan had informed Jahangiri by phone about the latest situation of COVID-19 outbreak in that province. 

Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, and Iraj Harirchi, the Iranian deputy health minister, have also contracted the virus. 

 

 

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