On the same day the United States leveled yet more sanctions against the Islamic Republic, blacklisting 20 Iran- and Iraq-based companies, officials and individuals for supporting terrorism, leaders in Tehran took to publicly mocking the US for now being the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Friday evening numbers of US confirmed cases have surpassed 100,000 - soaring past China and Italy. This prompted the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami, to mock the new situation, saying his country is fully capable of containing the virus on its own and even has enough healthcare capacities to help the American people fight the outbreak if called upon.
"We can help Americans fight coronavirus and don’t need their assistance," the IRGC chief said tauntingly, according to state media.
Ironically the remarks also came reportedly on the sidelines of Iranian biological defense drills, and in response to prior statements from the US administration that it is willing to extend a helping humanitarian hand to assist the Iranian people through the crisis.
“When Americans say they want to help the Iranian nation under these conditions, it is nothing but demagogy,” the IRGC chief commander said.
General Salami added:
“They are themselves plagued by this virus outbreak and their healthcare infrastructure cannot protect the American people against this phenomenon. If the American nation needs help, we can render assistance to them, but we do not need their help.”
On Sunday Ayatollah Khamenei similarly condemned Washington's "offer" of assistance, dismissing the overture as "strange" given America's own health equipment shortages and exploding numbers of cases.
The White House's feigning to "help" appears but mere PR management more than anything else, given it's come under growing criticism from European allies and the media, including even the UK (which on principle has agreed with the 'maximum pressure' campaign), for an all-encompassing sanctions regimen which will surely result in more Covid-19 deaths inside Iran as a blockade of essential supplies and medicines continues.
Iran's official confirmed cases soared past 30,000 this week, out of a population of some 80 million; however, true numbers are considered much higher, and the Trump administration has accused the Iranians of consistently suppressing information throughout the crisis.