US secretary of state accuses Iran’s supreme leader of lying about outbreak

  23 March 2020    Read: 750
US secretary of state accuses Iran’s supreme leader of lying about outbreak

In a loaded statement, Mike Pompeo accused what he called Iran’s ‘chief terror airline’ of bringing the virus into the Islamic Republic

It followed a televised address on Sunday in which Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the US as ‘charlatans’ and rejected American help.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday accused Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of lying about the coronavirus pandemic as the supreme leader rejected US assistance for his hard-hit country.

In a televised address on Sunday, Khamenei described the United States as “charlatans” and charged that Washington could bring in a drug to keep the virus alive.

“Who in their right mind would trust you to bring them medication?” Khamenei said. “Possibly your medicine is a way to spread the virus more.”

Pompeo in a statement also used loaded language, accusing “Iran’s chief terror airline” Mahan Air of bringing in what he called the “Wuhan virus” through its continued flights to China.

“The regime continues to lie to the Iranian people and the world about the number of cases and deaths, which are unfortunately far higher than the regime admits,” Pompeo said.

He said that the United States remained open to offering aid and was “working tirelessly” to develop a vaccine.

“Khamenei rejected this offer because he works tirelessly to concoct conspiracy theories and prioritises ideology over the Iranian people,” Pompeo said.

He also signalled that the United States was unreceptive to the Islamic republic’s first-ever request for a loan from the International Monetary Fund, where Washington effectively holds a veto, accusing the regime of funding “terror abroad” with its resources.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has maintained its policy of “maximum pressure” and sanctions as Iran is hit hard by the virus, with an official death toll of more than 1,800.

Trump, who is close to Iran’s rivals Saudi Arabia and Israel, has sought to stop all of Iran’s oil sales and the two countries have increasingly fought a proxy war in Iraq.


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