Josep Borrell
Josep BorrellReuters

The European Union will send €20 million in humanitarian aid to Iran to help alleviate the coronavirus outbreak, the EU's top diplomat said Monday, according to France24.

"We've not been able to provide a lot of humanitarian help but there is some €20 million in the pipeline ... that we expect to be delivered over the next weeks," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was quoted as having said in a video news conference.

"We also agree in supporting the request by Iran and also by Venezuela to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to have financial support," he added.

Iran is the Middle Eastern nation worst hit by coronavirus, with over 1,800 deaths and 23,049 infected people.

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.

Borrell’s comment came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected Washington's offer of humanitarian assistance and added that the US should lift sanctions if it wants to help Iran to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

"American leaders are lying ... If they want to help Iran, all they need to do is to lift sanctions .... Then we can deal with the coronavirus outbreak," Rouhani said.

Rouhani’s comments come a day after Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei refused US assistance to fight COVID-19, claiming the virus could be man-made by America.

Borrell has engaged with Iran in recent times in an attempt to keep the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers alive.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

In one of the moves, the Islamic Republic restarted uranium enrichment at the underground Fordow facility in violation of the deal.

Britain, France and Germany have attempted to save the agreement, but recently triggered the dispute mechanism in the nuclear deal that could eventually lead to reimposing UN sanctions on Iran.

Borrell visited Tehran last month, where he held talks with Iranian officials on a mission aimed at lowering tensions over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.