Accessibility links

Breaking News

Pompeo Blasts Iran's Expulsion Of Coronavirus Medical Team

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 17, 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press conference at the State Department in Washington DC.

In a tweet on Wednesday, March 25, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the Islamic Republic for expelling the Paris-based Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF) from Iran.

On March 22, MSF had sent a nine-member team and a consignment of medical aid to Iran, including one inflatable field hospital, medicines, respiratory masks, and protective clothing.

"The Iranian regime kicked out Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which was setting up a field hospital for Iran's most vulnerable coronavirus patients. The regime's longest-suffering victims are its own people," Pompeo tweeted on Wednesday.

While set to help seriously ill patients in Isfahan, central Iran, MSF was told to leave the country.

The state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA), had reported on Tuesday, "MSF mission to Iran was coordinated with the Islamic Republic Ministry of Intelligence. The team has brought a fully equipped field hospital." ISNA also noted that contrary to some humiliating comments about the minimal value of the field hospital, it was a one-million-dollar unit.

However, hours later ISNA's report was removed from its website, without any explanation.

The Governor of Isfahan, Abbas Rezaei, disclosed on Wednesday that the Minister of Health had ordered MSF to leave Iran.

Earlier, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and ultraconservative allies of the country's Supreme Leader, including ultraconservative daily Kayhan, had opposed MSF's presence in Iran.

"We are deeply surprised to learn that the approval for the deployment of our treatment unit has been revoked," said Michel Olivier Lacharité, manager of the MSF Emergency programs in Paris. "The need for this intervention, and the authorizations needed to start it, were discussed and agreed with relevant Iranian authorities during the past weeks. Our teams were ready to start medical activities at the end of this week."

In a tweet on Wednesday, Mike Pompeo also blasted the Islamic Republic's failure to contain the spread of the Novel coronavirus in Iran, "Instead of inventing reasons to blame the U.S. for his government's gross mishandling of the #WuhanVirus outbreak in Iran, @HassanRouhani can better serve the Iranian people by saying "Yes" to our offer of humanitarian aid," Pompeo reiterated.