The Iranian ambassador to Yemen has died of Covid-19, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. Saeed Khatibzadeh described the death of Hassan Irloo, a former senior member of the IRGC, as a "martyrdom", adding he was an Iran-Iraq war-era chemical weapons survivor.
Irloo was reportedly flown in an Iraqi-owned plane from the Yemeni capital of Sanaa to Tehran on Saturday, December 19. The transfer was said to have been requested by Yemeni Houthi militias, and took place with the consent of Saudi officials and mediated by Iraq and Oman. But Irloo was already severely ill by the time of the transfer “due to the late cooperation of some countries”, Khatibzadeh said, and did not respond to treatment back in Iran.
Hassan Irloo was smuggled into Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen in October 2020. As an ex-IRGC commander affiliated with Lebanese Hezbollah, his presence was repeatedly protested against by the Yemeni government. He had been sanctioned by the US for acting on behalf of the IRGC’s Quds Force since December 2020.
Apart from its devastating humanitarian impact on the civilian population, the civil war in Yemen has become a key driver of regional crisis as it is regarded in part as a proxy war between the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia.
The current war in Yemen, known as the proxy war between the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia, has become one of the regional crises over the past six years.