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Soleimani aide dies due to chemical weapons injuries 'sustained in Iraq-Iran war' Open in fullscreen

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Soleimani aide dies due to chemical weapons injuries 'sustained in Iraq-Iran war'

Khodadi has been described as Soleimani's right-hand man [IRNA]

Date of publication: 24 September, 2020

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Top-ranking IRGC officials have congratulated Khodadi for his "martyrdom" and offered condolences.
The chief of staff to slain Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani died after succumbing to chemical weapons injuries sustained during the Islamic republic’s 1980-88 war with Iraq, Iranian state media reported on Friday.

Sardar Hamid Khodadi, hailed as a "chemical weapons" veteran of the "holy defence", the term used to refer to the Iran-Iraq war, served as deputy of security for the general staff of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

He also served as the chief of staff for General Soleimani, the head of the IRGC’s elite Quds force, who was killed in an American air strike near Baghdad airport in January.

Amir Taheri, editor of the Iranian daily Kayhan between 1972-1979, has desribed him on Twitter as Soleimani's "right-hand man".

Various IRGC officials have congratulated Khodadi for his "martyrdom" and offered condolences, including General Mohammed Bagheri, the highest-ranking military commander in Iran, and Major General Hossein Salami, Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC.

Khodadi had reportedly been wounded several times and was hospitalised after sustaining chemical weapons injuries during the Iran-Iraq war, according to the semi-official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Khodadi's death comes as Iran marks its "holy defence" week. Forty years ago, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded the Islamic Republic, triggering a war that killed an estimated 500,000 people before a UN-brokered ceasefire brought it to an end eight years later.

In a television address to top military commanders and war veterans on Monday, supreme leader Ayatolllah Ali Khamenei said that the outcome of the war showed Iran could defend itself.

"The Holy Defence showed that aggression towards this country is very costly," he said.

"When a nation shows it has the power and determination to defend itself…it causes the aggressor to think twice before attacking," said Khamenei.

Read also: Khamenei: war with Iraq proved Iran can defend itself

An estimated 7,500 Iranian military and civilians were killed by Iraqi troops who used nerve gas and mustard agents during the war, according to a report by a senior official of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague, cited by Aljazeera.

The report adds that about a million Iranians were "exposed" to chemical agents during the war.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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