Iranian officials have stolen more than $1 billion in European assistance to combat the coronavirus pandemic, instead pocketing the funds for themselves, alleges U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Iran has the sixth-most confirmed coronavirus cases with 23,049, and the highest number of cases in the Middle East. At least 1,812 people have died from the virus.
On Monday, Pompeo released a new list of five allegations of how the regime has handled the outbreak.
“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.”
Mahan Air, which is sanctioned by the United States and Germany, has operated flights between Iran and China, despite both countries being two of the most infected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a Voice of America report on Thursday.
“The Iranian regime ignored repeated warnings from its own health officials, and denied its first death from the coronavirus for at least nine days,” said Pompeo. “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.”
Pompeo also alleged that “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.”
Pompeo asserted that “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.”
Finally, Pompeo stated that “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. [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei rejected this offer because he works tirelessly to concoct conspiracy theories and prioritizes ideology over the Iranian people.”