U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday the United States has offered to help with the coronavirus response in Iran, where the outbreak has killed 34 people, infected hundreds, and raised doubts about Tehran's willingness to share information.
"We have made offers to the Islamic Republic of Iran to help," Pompeo said in a hearing at House Foreign Affairs Committee. "Their healthcare infrastructure is not robust and to date, their willingness to share information about what's really going on inside...Iran has not been robust, and I am very concerned that....it is Iran that is not sharing information."
America's offer to help Iran in dealing with coronavirus is "ridiculous," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Friday, according to the Mehr news agency.
"The claim to help Iran in dealing with corona from a country who with their economic terrorism has created widespread pressure for the people of Iran and even closed the paths for buying medicine and medical equipment, is a ridiculous claim and a political-psychological game," Mousavi said.
Pompeo also said the U.S. is watching carefully to see if Iran takes more active measures to undermine American peace efforts in Afghanistan.
Washington has repeatedly accused Tehran of meddling in the internal affairs of its neighbors by organizing and assisting proxies and militants in places such as Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan.
The Islamic Republic is the only country in the Persian Gulf region that has reported deaths from the coronavirus. Iran’s death toll is the second highest in the world after China. People also have been infected in Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
Tehran had already canceled Friday prayers in the capitals of 23 of Iran's 31 provinces because of the outbreak, including in Tehran and the Shi’ite Muslim holy cities of Qom and Mashhad.
Reporting by Reuters