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22 Mar, 2020 08:14

It’s strange for US to offer help against Covid-19 outbreak after ‘accusations’ it created the virus – Iran’s Khamenei

It’s strange for US to offer help against Covid-19 outbreak after ‘accusations’ it created  the virus – Iran’s Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said it was not the right time for Iran to reach out for US aid to help it combat the pandemic, citing earlier allegations that the contagion could have been created in America.

“Several times Americans have offered to help Iran to contain the virus ... You are accused of creating this virus. I do not know whether it is true, but it is strange that you want to help Iran,” Khamenei said in a televised speech on Sunday.

He did not go into the details, saying that it was nonetheless “unwise” to accept American aid, given the circumstances.

The unverified claims that the Covid-19 strain could have originated in the US started to make headlines earlier this month. None of these reports have been confirmed. 

In March China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Lijian Zhao floated the idea that the virus may have been brought to Wuhan by US personnel during Military World Games.

Also on rt.com ‘Where was your patient zero?’ Chinese official speculates AMERICANS may have infected Wuhan at army games & calls to ‘come clean’

Earlier Iranian officials and media had made claims that the deadly virus could have been created by the US. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps chief Hossein Salami was one of those floating the "possibility" that Covid-19 was the "product of a biological attack by America which initially spread to China and then to Iran and the rest of the world."

Other Iranian officials have avoided openly accusing Washington of deploying the virus as a weapon, focusing instead on how US sanctions have contributed to the epidemic's devastating effects. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed the Trump administration's "medical terrorism," pointing out that artificially-induced shortages have put a major strain on hospitals' resources. 

Iran remains one of the nations that were hit hardest by Covid-19, with the number of registered cases surpassing 20,600 on Saturday. A total of 1,556 people in Iran have died from the disease. President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran has resources to combat the pandemic and expressed hope that the measures introduced to fight the virus could be eased within two to three weeks.

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