As even Britain is urging its close US ally to moderate its stance on Iran sanctions as the Mideast country's death toll surges from the coronvirus pandemic, the Washington-Tehran tit-for-tat exchanges and blame game over Covid-19 continues unabated.
Yesterday Pompeo issued a new list of five allegations of how Iran's leaders have handled the outbreak. Notably this featured the fresh charge that Iran is responsible for recklessly spreading the deadly virus to five countries.
“In February, Iran’s chief terror airline, Mahan Air, ran at least 55 flights between Tehran and China, further infecting the Iranian people,” said Pompeo. “At least five foreign countries’ first cases of coronavirus were directly imported from Iran, putting millions more lives at risk.”
Pompeo's newly released five "facts" were posted to US Embassy websites around the world, and further accuse Iran of diverting vital funds from Covid-19 protection to instead supporting global terrorist.
Europe has largely stood by the Islamic Republic as it's lashed out at US sanctions. On Monday a new announcement of millions in EU aid to help with coronovirus was issued by the EU: “We’ve not been able to provide a lot of humanitarian help but there is some 20 million euros in the pipeline... that we expect to be delivered over the next weeks,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
It appears the White House's latest attempt to deflect growing criticism over its 'maximum pressure' campaign, which is exacerbating the outbreak in hard-hit Iran, is also also centered around the charge that the regime allegedly "stole" billions of dollars meant for humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people. However, little to no proof has been offered for such claims.
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Here are Pompeo's 5 facts posted to State Department websites this week regarding what he dubs "the Wuhan virus" and Iran's alleged role in spreading it:
Fact: In February, Iran’s chief terror airline, Mahan Air, ran at least 55 flights between Tehran and China, further infecting the Iranian people. At least five foreign countries’ first cases of coronavirus were directly imported from Iran, putting millions more lives at risk.
Fact: The Iranian regime ignored repeated warnings from its own health officials, and denied its first death from the coronavirus for at least nine days. The regime continues to lie to the Iranian people and the world about the number of cases and deaths, which are unfortunately far higher than the regime admits.
Khamenei’s Lies About the Wuhan Virus Put Lives at Risk - United States Department of State https://t.co/fSCtNBHk4n— Lisa Daftari (@LisaDaftari) March 23, 2020
Fact: As Iranian regime officials ask for more funds, it is important to note that since 2012, Iran has spent over $16 billion on terror abroad, and used sanctions relief from the JCPOA to fill up its proxies’ coffers. Regime officials stole over a billion Euros intended for medical supplies, and continue to hoard desperately needed masks, gloves, and other medical equipment for sale on the black market.
Fact: U.S. sanctions do not target imports of food, medicine and medical equipment, or other humanitarian goods. Iranian documents show their health companies have been able to import testing kits without obstacle from U.S. sanctions since January.
Fact: The United States has offered over $100 million in medical assistance to foreign countries, including to the Iranian people, and our scientists are working tirelessly to develop a vaccine. Khamenei rejected this offer because he works tirelessly to concoct conspiracy theories and prioritizes ideology over the Iranian people.
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Meanwhile, Tehran officials have vehemently denied Pompeo's "conspiracies" after recently floating their own claims that Covid-19 actually began in US Army labs, echoing similar bombastic statements in Chinese state media.