We were being facetious the first time we speculated that the Ayatollah might have been exposed to the coronavirus.
Now, the notion that Iran's Supreme Leader has been exposed to the virus isn't just probable, it's very likely.
India TV reports Monday that a senior Iranian official and close advisor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has died of coronavirus, becoming at least the fourth government official to succumb to the a virus, which has spread like wildfire across Iran, causing hundreds of deaths. The country boasts the highest death toll outside China.
The deceased government advisor was named Mohammad Mir-Mohammadi. He is a member of Iran's Expediency Council, a close circle of advisors responsible to the Ayatollah. Mir-Mohammadi reportedly died at a hospital in Tehran on Monday. He was 71.
The sick Iranian officials include Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, better known to millions of older Americans as "Sister Mary," the English-speaking spokeswoman for the students who seized the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979, sparking the 444-day hostage crisis. Also sick is Iraj Harirchi, the country's deputy health minister and the head of an Iranian government task force on the coronavirus. That would be like if HHS Secretary Alex Azar got sick.
During a 'teleconference' press conference, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei acknowledged that Iran has "two difficult weeks ahead."
A separate news teleconference by the Iranian Foreign Ministry started with spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissing an offer of help for Iran extended by President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
For the common Iranian, this refusal of the US's offer is truly unfortunate. Because nothing says 'we've got this' like a rash of your most senior government officials falling ill.
Imagine what would happen to the market if the PM of Italy or President of South Korea got sick? Or even another important religious official like...say...the Pope?