The head of the "Academy of Islamic Sciences" in Iran Mohammad Mehdi Mirbaqeri, says there has been excessive exaggeration about the dangers of the novel coronavirus, and that is an "enemy plot".
Speaking to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-linked Fars News Agency on Saturday, May 9, he cited unidentified analysts as saying that the coronavirus was a "secular virus" that "attacks religious institutions".
The senior Shiite cleric, who is also a member of the powerful Assembly of Experts, described the deadly outbreak as a war on "religious civilization" and accused Western countries of creating the virus.
Earlier, the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had also accused the United States of producing coronavirus and quoted "some individuals" as saying that a version of the virus had also been made to infect Iranians.
Meanwhile, Mirbaqeri maintained that the aim of Westerns by "creating coronavirus" was to push people of the world into quarantine, force them to live in a "virtual environment" and defeat the rival civilizations through dominance over the cyberspace.
The Islamic Republic authorities have been criticized for their handling of the health crisis by not having clear preventive policies and are also accused of covering up the initial phase of the epidemic.
Furthermore, they vehemently resisted to lock down the religious city of Qom, the epicenter of the outbreak in the country.
The Academy of Islamic Sciences, presided by Ayatollah Mirbaqeri, is also located in the city of Qom, where Chinese Muslims studying at Shiite seminaries might have brought the novel coronavirus to Iran.