Khamenei says US’ offer to help Iran fight coronavirus is strange

Source:Reuters Published: 2020/3/22 22:48:40

A volunteer medical team sent to Iran by the Red Cross Society of China visits a hospital for investigation. Photo: Courtesy of the Red Cross Society of China

The offer by the US to help Iran fight the coronavirus pandemic is strange, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech on Sunday, describing US leaders as "charlatans."

Despite heightened tensions between the longtime foes, Washington has offered humanitarian assistance to Iran while it struggles with the coronavirus outbreak domestically.

Iran is the most heavily affected country in the Middle East with over 1,600 coronavirus deaths and 20,610 infected people.

Khamenei, an anti-US hardliner, said the Islamic Republic could overcome "any kind of crisis and challenges, including the coronavirus outbreak."

Tensions have been running high between Iran and the US since 2018, when US President Donald Trump exited Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the country's economy.

Frictions increased when Trump ordered a drone strike that killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3. Iran retaliated by hitting US targets in Iraq on January 8.

Iranian authorities have blamed US sanctions for hampering its efforts to curb the outbreak and called for the restrictions to be lifted. Washington has refused to lift sanctions.



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