Iran’s Supreme Leader has lashed out at the US – in spite of the American government of help in the battle against coronavirus.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s outburst came during a televised speech about the crisis.

He claimed there were “suspicions” that the virus was created by the US – and said it was strange American would offer to help when it is itself struggling to contain the killer disease.

More than 1,500 people have died in Iran after contracting Covid-19 – with one death every 10 minutes.

Khamenei said: “Today, the most sinister enemy of the Islamic Republic is the United States.

Iran’s death toll has now risen to more than 1,500
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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“We have no shortage of enemies, but the US officials are such shameless, avaricious, lying charlatans.

“They are also cruel and terrorists. We have such an enemy against us today.”

And he continued: “Several times Americans have offered to help Iran to contain the virus … You are accused of creating this virus.

“I do not know whether it is true, but it is strange that you want to help Iran.

An Iranian health inspector checks a makeshift hospital set up inside the Iran Mall, northwest of Tehran

An Iranian health inspector checks a makeshift hospital set up inside the Iran Mall, northwest of Tehran
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Coronavirus: Iran's Supreme Leader says US 'charlatans' may have created COVID-19 - World News 1

Iran is one of the worst affected countries outside China
(Image: MIZAN NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty)

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“Aside from the fact that you have shortages in your fight against the virus, what if you give us a drug that will help the virus to remain in Iran permanently?”

The number of infections has topped 20,000, an Iranian health ministry official said yesterday.

The Supreme Leader had been scheduled to speak at a New Year celebration event in Tehran today, but this was cancelled in an effort to contain the virus.

Coronavirus: Iran's Supreme Leader says US 'charlatans' may have created COVID-19 - World News 2

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More than 100 people died in 24 hours, the country – which is one of the most affected states outside of China – revealed on Saturday.

Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iranian Affairs, earlier claimed that Washington had offered support to Iran during the crisis, but this was rebuffed.

He said the US sent a diplomatic note to Tehran offering help with coronavirus “and it was quickly rejected.”

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Coronavirus outbreak

He also blamed Iran’s leadership for its coronavirus woes, saying that Iran “spends billions on terrorism and foreign wars” and that if it spent one tenth of this “on a better health care system, the Iranian people would have been much better off”.

More than 26,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the US, and 348 people have died.

The US has put strong economic sanctions in place against Iran, but denied these affected the flow of humanitarian aid.

Both countries stepped back from the brink of war in January after a US bombing operation in Iraq killed one of Iran’s top generals, Quasem Soleimani.



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