U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has dismissed the elections in the Islamic Republic as "rigged" and has voiced concern that Iran maybe hiding information about the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, February 25, in Washington, Pompeo described the recent Iranian parliamentary elections as a "rigged", reiterating that Washington would continue to support people of Iran and those who wanted their voices to be heard in a free and fair election.
The turnout in the parliamentary elections in Iran last Friday has been the lowest since 1979 when the Islamic Republic was established.
Referring to Iran, which now has the second highest number of coronavirus cases after China, Pompeo said the U.S. was "deeply concerned" that the Islamic Republic government "may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak."
"All nations, including Iran, should tell the truth about the coronavirus and cooperate with international aid organizations," Pompeo reiterated.
The virus that originated in China has now infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 2,600, mostly in China.
Meanwhile, in Iran, the Islamic Republic President Hassan Rouhani maintained that people should not be afraid of coronavirus, and blamed “enemies” for exaggerating the threat, “to shut down” the country.
"We will, inshallah (God willing), get past this virus," the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) cited the mid-ranking cleric as saying.
The Islamic Republic authorities on Tuesday reported three more deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of fatalities to fifteen, official Iranian media reported.
However, on Tuesday, it was revealed that coronavirus had reached the political elite In Iran, including an outspoken Tehran member of Majles (parliament), and the Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi.
Several other Iranian officials, including a district mayor in Tehran and the chairman of the Tehran City Council, were also tested for the virus, and isolated.