Iranian officials on Monday vowed to “never” seek help from the U.S. in the fight against the rapidly spreading coronavirus, as infections in the country top 60,000.
U.S. officials have stated that assistance has and continues to be available to Iran and is not subjected to any sanctions, but Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly rejected the offers.
“Iran has never asked and will not ask America to help Tehran in its fight against the outbreak,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said during a news conference.
“But America should lift all its illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran,” he continued.
At least 3,739 people in Iran have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, while 24,236 have recovered, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Iran has a population of 83 million.
But exile groups critical of the regime say the real number is much higher and claim the government has not been honest about the death toll, which could be over 18,000 to date.