Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei had on Sunday termed Washington “the most evil enemy of the Iranian nation”.
He pointed to claims by US President Donald Trump and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to the effect that Washington is ready to help Iran in its fight against an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus, saying, “Firstly, you have a shortage yourself and this is what American officials say. Secondly, you are accused of producing the virus. I do not know how true this accusation is, but when such an accusation is made, which wise person will ask for your help?"
On Monday, US State Department’s spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, claimed in a tweet that what Iran said about the possible role of the United States in developing and spreading the virus across the world were nothing but “conspiracy theories”.
In response on the same day, the Iranian Foreign Ministry reaffirmed the country’s position on the US role in coronavirus pandemic, highlighting a recent article from Global Research in which ten questions were posed about inadequacy and insufficiency of the US government's response to virus outbreak on its soil.
“If the State Department claims the mounting global questions about US role in COVID-19 pandemic are mere ‘Iran-made conspiracy theories’, then US must answer some of these questions asked by the Global Research,” said the Iranian foreign ministry in a tweet.
The Global Research article also underlined measures taken by the US administration, which have been seen by analysts as being aimed at relieving the US of its international obligations with regard to production of microbial and biological weapons.
“Why did the US withdraw from the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in 2001? Why did it try to prevent a monitoring mechanism for the execution of the Convention? Is it standing in the way of developing biological weapon for the US?” it asked.
The article went on to note that the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, located on Fort Detrick, Maryland, was shut down in July 2019, asking, “Was it because there was a virus leakage incident?”
In relevant remarks on Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described the US offer to help Iran fight against the coronavirus epidemic as a big lie as the harshest sanctions against the country are still in place, saying that Tehran does not want Washington’s “glass of muddy water”.
“We are not in a normal economic situation; sanctions that are cruel, illegal and a terrorist action have been imposed by the US on the Iranian people, and unfortunately many problems have been posed to us,” Rouhani said, addressing a cabinet meeting in Tehran.
“Americans' saying we are ready to help Iran through the hardships of coronavirus is one of the great lies of history, as if someone who has blocked the source of the spring and does not let anyone go to the clear spring, brings a glass of muddy water to offer, saying that he has come to help, since he knows we're thirsty,” he added.
President Rouhani addressed Washington, saying, “If you want to help, get your boots out of the way; you have blocked the origin, you have troubled our crude sales; you have troubled our banking system for food, for raw materials and for employment; part of the unemployment is because of America, part of the hard life of the people is because of America, part of the lack of working capital for factories is because of America, lack of some medicines is because of America, not having a job and living in a state of extreme crisis for some people is because of America.”
“The Americans, who are in charge of the biggest crimes in the region and committed crimes in Iran and terrorism in the true sense of the word, and when their thoughts and underpinnings of their misconduct and terrorism have become more apparent to the world, say we are ready to help in combatting coronavirus. This is the same glass of muddy water, but they do not say that they blocked the main springs on this nation,” he said.
The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting over 180 countries and territories around the world. The virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has so far killed more than 16,500 people and infected over 381,000 others globally.
Iran reported on Monday that a total number of 1,812 coronavirus patients have died and 23,049 cases of infection have been identified in the country so far. Meanwhile, 8,376 people have also recovered.
The Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.
As the death toll from the virus surges, Iran intensifies its preventive safety measures. Closures of schools and universities have been extended for the next two weeks.
The government also imposed travel restrictions, specially on Iran’s north, which is among the red zones. The country has also adopted strict digital health control procedures at airports to spot possible infections.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced earlier this month that a new national mobilization plan would be implemented across the country to fight against the coronavirus epidemic and more effectively treat patients.
Namaki said that the plan will include all the 17,000 health centers and the 9,000 medical and clinical centers in all cities, suburban areas and villages.
He added that the plan will include home quarantine, noting that infected people will receive the necessary medicines and advice, but they are asked to stay at home.
Namaki said that people with a more serious condition will stay at the hospitals, adding that the public places will be disinfected, the entries of infected towns and cities will be controlled to diagnose and quarantine the infected cases.
He added that the necessary equipment and facilities have been provided, expressing the hope that the epidemic would be curbed.
Namaki said that the number of medical laboratories to test coronavirus infection has reached 22, and will increase to 40 soon.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says Iran's response to the virus has so far been up to the mark. Still, it says the US sanctions are a big challenge, and Washington would be complicit in the rising death toll in Iran if it would not remove its sanctions.
The World Health Organization has considered priorities in combating coronavirus and Islamic Republic of Iran obeys and follows up priorities as defined by WHO.
The WHO is dispatching separate delegations to all countries.