Khamenei: Coronavirus could have been made by the US

Iran's Supreme Leader refuses US assistance to fight coronavirus, cites conspiracy that it was created by the Americans.

Elad Benari ,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Sunday refused US assistance to fight the new coronavirus, claiming the virus could be man-made by America.

"I do not know how real this accusation is but when it exists, who in their right mind would trust you to bring them medication?" Khamenei said, according to The Associated Press. "Possibly your medicine is a way to spread the virus more."

He also alleged without offering any evidence that the virus "is specifically built for Iran using the genetic data of Iranians which they have obtained through different means."

"You might send people as doctors and therapists, maybe they would want to come here and see the effect of the poison they have produced in person," claimed Khamenei.

While Iran faces US sanctions which block the country from selling its crude oil and accessing international financial markets, Washington has offered Iran help in fighting the coronavirus, which has hit it hard.

As of Thursday, there were 1,284 deaths from coronavirus in Iran, which is the hardest hit country in the Middle East due to the virus.

The virus has killed at least 12 Iranian politicians and officials, both sitting and former, and infected 13 more who have either been quarantined or are being treated.

High-profile deaths in Iran from the coronavirus include a member of the council advising the Ayatollah, a former ambassador, a newly-elected member of parliament, an adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and a re-elected member of parliament.

Recently, it was reported that Iran’s senior Vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri, and two other Cabinet members have contracted the new coronavirus.

A top adviser to Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, was also reported to have been infected with the virus.

Last week, Ayatollah Hashem Bathayi Golpayegani, a member of the Assembly of Experts that appoints and monitors Khamenei, died from the virus.

Khamenei is not the only Iranian official to have suggested that COVID-19 is a biological attack by the US.

Hossein Salami, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, claimed earlier this month that the coronavirus outbreak “may be the product of the American biological invasion.”