The chief commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the Islamic Republic has enough healthcare capacities to help American people fight the outbreak of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, but does not need any assistance from the US administration.
Major General Hossein Salami made the remarks on the sidelines of Iran’s biological defense drills on Thursday while reacting to claims by various American officials, including US President Donald Trump and his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to the effect that Washington is ready to help Tehran contain the virus pandemic.
“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.”
President Trump and Pompeo have, on several occasions, extended a self-proclaimed helping hand towards Iran, with the top American diplomat accusing the Iranian medical system of suffering from weakness in the battle against the new virus.
Pompeo told the Sean Hannity Show radio program on March 18 that the US was “working diligently to create better conditions” for Iranians, and “make sure that we’re available to provide humanitarian assistance when we can.”
Iran has roundly denounced the claims as hypocritical, saying if the US genuinely sought to help it out, it should lift its sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic.
The Iranian Army’s Ground Forces have set up an emergency hospital in 48 hours to battle the coronavirus outbreak in the capital. The makeshift hospital has three units, 2,000 beds, and several isolation wards.
“The Americans’ attitude towards the Iranian nation is characterized by hostility. They were never well-disposed towards the [Iranian] people,” General Salami noted.
As cases in point, he cited the US president’s calling the Iranian people “terrorist” during his tenure and his bringing the people under the sanctions “so people are faced with problems concerning their livelihood.”
“By God’s grace, however, they (the US) were fortunately unsuccessful in so doing,” the commander noted.
General Salami reminded how the IRGC stepped in to confront the outbreak from the onset of its emergence, citing its setting up of as many as 10 mobile and field hospitals in places reporting high number of infections across the country’s provinces.
The IRGC, he added, is capable of creating even more such hospitals if need be.
Each of the mobile facilities that are run by the IRGC’s Ground Force and Navy are outfitted with all the equipment of a complete actual hospital, and can be easily relocated to various virus hotspots, the commander concluded.
Upon the outbreak’s emergency in the north-central city of Qom, the IRGC, Iran’s elite defense force, expressed preparedness to help fight its further spread.
Most recently, the IRGC began holding fresh biological defense drills as well as countrywide disinfection operations amid warnings that the new coronavirus pandemic may be the outcome of a biological attack targeting certain nations.
Zarif says even US needs others to help it fight pandemic
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to Twitter later on Thursday, alluding to the fact that no country can deal with the pandemic on its own and saying, “Even the world’s largest economy needs others to help it fight the pandemic.”
Pointing to the fact that the US is ruthlessly continuing to impose unilateral sanctions on Iran, Zarif said while “#Covid19 ravages the world, sparing no nation,” the US “refuses to halt its #EconomicTerrorism against Iran.”
He also advised other countries not to follow suit with the US sanctions against Iran, saying, “Moral imperative to stop observing the bully’s sanctions.”