Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected an American offer on Sunday to help his country in its battle against the coronavirus, news agencies have reported. Khamenei announced this in a televised speech marking the Persian New Year, calling America Iran's "number one" enemy.
"It is the most wicked, sinister enemy of Iran… its leaders are terrorists… Liars and charlatans," said Khamenei. "Several times Americans have offered to help us to fight the pandemic. That is strange because you [the Americans] face shortages in America. Also, you are accused of creating this virus."
He added that he does not know if this is true or not. "However, when there is such an allegation, can a wise man trust you and accept your offer of help? You could be giving medicines to Iran that spread the virus or cause it to remain permanently."
According to the Supreme Leader, "The Islamic Republic has the capability to overcome any kind of crisis and challenges, including the coronavirus outbreak."
Since 19 February, when Iran said that its first coronavirus case had been identified, it has announced that 1,685 people have died out of almost 22,000 cases of infection.