Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declined potential US assistance in tackling the coronavirus outbreak in the country, questioning their trustworthiness amid accusations that the COVID-19 virus was created and deployed by the United States. Khamenei made the remarks during a televised address to the nation from Tehran, on Sunday.

"You Americans are suspects of having produced this virus. I do not know how real this accusation is but when it exists, who in their right mind would trust you to bring them medication? Possibly your medicine is a way to spread the virus more. You are not trustworthy," said Khamenei.

"It is possible that you prescribe a medicine or bring it into the country that would make the virus persist and prevent it from ending."

"If this accusation is true and if you have made this virus, this is what you are capable of. You might send people as doctors and therapists, maybe they would want to come here and see the effect of the poison they have produced in person since it is said that part of the virus is specifically built for Iran using the genetic data of Iranians which they have obtained through different means," the Iranian supreme leader said.

"The country contains extraordinary capabilities to deal with any possible issues and challenges and overcome them. The county's capabilities are high enough," assured Khamenei.

Iran has been among the most affected countries by the coronavirus, with a total of over 21,000 cases nationwide, which reportedly include members of parliament and high-ranking government officials. At the time of writing, Iran has a death toll of at least 1,685, which ranks it fourth in terms of coronavirus victims.

Meanwhile, over 314,000 cases have been recorded globally since the start of the outbreak. Over 204,000 are still considered active.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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