The United States’ offer to help Iran in its fight against the new coronavirus pandemic is strange, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech on Sunday, describing U.S. leaders as “charlatans and liars”.
“Several times Americans have offered to help us to fight the pandemic. That is strange because you face shortages in America. Also you are accused of creating this virus,” said Khamenei, an anti-U.S. hardliner who has the final say in Iran.
“I do not know whether it is true. But when there is such an allegation, can a wise man trust you and accept your help offer? ... You could be giving medicines to Iran that spread the virus or cause it to remain permanently," he added.
“Our number one enemy is America. It is the most wicked, sinister enemy of Iran ... its leaders are terrorists ... Liars and charlatans,” said Khamenei.
“The Islamic Republic has the capability to overcome any kind of crisis and challenges, including the coronavirus outbreak,” said Khamenei, who called on people to stay at home.
Washington has offered humanitarian assistance to its longtime foe, the Middle Eastern country most affected by the coronavirus, with 1,685 deaths and 21,638 people infected.
Tensions between the two countries have been running high since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump exited Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.