Two days after his return from Yemen, Iran’s ambassador with Houthi rebels has died of Covid-19 complications, the foreign ministry announced early on Tuesday.
Hassan Irloo (Irlu) had left Yemen reportedly on a plane sent by Iraq, in coordination with Saudi Arabia that maintains an air blockade over Yemeni territories controlled by Iran-aligned Houthis.
The Iranian foreign ministry tweeted that Irloo passed away due “belated cooperation of some countries,” saying that when he returned to Iran his health had already deteriorated.
Last week controversy ensued after a Wall Street Journal report said that the Houthis had asked Iran to withdraw Irloo. Both Iran and the Houthi leadership denied the report, insisting that the ambassador suffered from Covid and needed to receive medical attention in Iran.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh had said in a tweet Saturday that he was being brought back home for Covid treatment "with the assistance of some regional countries" and thanked "the countries that contributed to this humanitarian measure."
However, US State Department Spokesman Ned Price on Monday commenting on Irloo's departure said, "We hope it is a sign that Yemenis understand the profoundly destabilizing role that Iran has been playing in their country for some time now."
Irloo was a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) with close ties to Lebanese Hezbollah. He was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in December 2020 due to his connections with the IRGC's Qods Force.