March 22, 2020


Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday refused the United States’ assistance to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has been particularly harsh in Iran where tough economic sanctions preventing the sale of crude oil and access to international financial markets remain in place.

In his speech, Khamenei not only rejected U.S. aid, but he also trumpeted a conspiracy theory first touted in China that the virus was a man-made U.S. government weapon. He said he doesn’t know if the accusation is true, but wondered “who in their right mind would trust you to bring them medication,” when that medication might be “a way to spread the virus more” before suggesting that the real reason U.S. medical personnel might want to come to Iran is to “see the effect of the poison they have produced.”

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