Over the weekend Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took a page directly from the Chinese Communist Party playbook and falsely blamed the United States for creating and spreading the Wuhan coronavirus to the rest of the world.
Iran’s supreme leader refused U.S. assistance Sunday to fight the new coronavirus, citing an unfounded conspiracy theory that the virus could be man-made by America.
Khamenei instead chose to traffic in the same conspiracy theory increasingly used by Chinese officials about the new virus to deflect blame for the pandemic.
“I do not know how real this accusation is but when it exists, 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.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded, slamming the regime for putting its people at risk and for peddling nonsense.
FACT: The Iranian regime ignored repeated warnings from its own health officials, and denied its first death from the #WuhanVirus for at least nine days. The regime continues to lie to the Iranian people and the world about the number of cases and deaths.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 23, 2020
FACT: The U.S. has offered $100M+ in medical aid to other nations—including Iran—and our scientists are working 24/7 to develop a vaccine. @khamenei_ir has rejected American offers and spends 24/7 concocting conspiracy theories. How does that help the Iranian people?— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 23, 2020
The United States has offered humanitarian assistance to the people of Iran as the Wuhan coronavirus rages in the country. It has been rejected by the regime.
"The United States stands with the people of Iran during the public health crisis caused by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The U.S. Government is prepared to assist the Iranian people in their response efforts. This offer of support to the Iranian people, which has been formally conveyed to Iran through the Government of Switzerland, underscores our ongoing commitment to address health crises and prevent the spread of infectious diseases," Pompeo said in February. "The United States calls on Iran to cooperate fully and transparently with international aid and health organizations. We will continue to work closely with countries in the region to help address unmet needs in response to the virus."