In the wake of the death of a top aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Abbas Mousavi, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, turned down the Trump administration’s offer of help fighting the coronavirus.
“Since the outbreak of the virus in Iran, we have been observing the U.S.-led anti-Iranian propaganda campaign and know about the measures the Americans have taken to reduce Iranian nation’s morale,” Mousavi told reporters, according to the Mehr State News Agency.
“We do not need them,” he added. He referred to the offer, as “political theatre,” sowing doubt as to the United States’ intentions after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extended the offer.
Mousavi’s comments came after it was confirmed that Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a member of the Ayatollah’s Expediency Discernment Council, died at a hospital in Tehran. There have been 1,501 confirmed cases––and 66 deaths––in Iran since the global coronavirus outbreak began. The death toll in Iran is the highest in the world outside of China, the epicenter of the virus.
Mirmohammadi isn’t the only Iranian official to die in recent days. Mohammad Ali Ramezani, recently elected to the Iranian parliament, died last week. Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar and Iraj Harirchi, the head of an Iranian government task force on the coronavirus, are also ill.
In the meantime, Health Ministry spokesman Ali Reza Raisi said the Basij, volunteers of the Revolutionary Paramilitary Guard, will lead an effort to sanitize public areas.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.