Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slammed US accusations of falsifying data on the coronavirus outbreak in the country, calling it “propaganda” in his speech during a cabinet meeting. He also stressed that the “fear” the US is allegedly trying to sow in the country must not become a weapon against Iranian business.
“Corona[virus] should not become the weapon of our enemies. Americans and enemies have, for two years, with their boycott and propaganda, sought to perpetuate economic despair in this country and make people suffer”, Rouhani said.
The president also noted that the US struggles with coronavirus itself, but at the same time spends time speculating about the outbreak of the virus in another country.
“Lately a high-ranking American official spoke about Iran’s coronavirus situation. They are caught up with corona themselves, they have lost 16,000 lives to influenza in America, but they do not speak of themselves”, the president added.
Rouhani also quashed rumors that a number of cities in Iran are being quarantined amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, stressing that the administration has not made any decision about keeping people in quarantine in any place.
He explained that decisions about the closure of public places and other restrictions come only within the purview of the National Headquarters of the Fight against Coronavirus.
Rouhani’s statements came in response to accusations sounded by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who claimed that Iran was hiding the exact numbers of those who had contracted the COVID-19 virus and died from it and called on Tehran to release accurate data.
According to Iranian officials, 139 people were infected, including a lawmaker and Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, who was leading the task force which is trying to tackle the epidemic. So far only 19 Iranians died from the disease. The Iranian Health Ministry’s Spokesman however reassured people that the situation was improving, but still called on citizens to avoid visiting infected regions.