Selin ATAY-TDO- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei refused assistance from the United States to help fight the coronavirus outbreak in his country, citing a conspiracy theory that accuses the U.S. military of developing and spreading the virus.

Khamenei acknowledged that “U.S. leaders have on several occasions declared that they are ready to help us with medical aid and medicines.” But he called the offer “strange” and accused the U.S. of having nefarious motives while amplifying accusations similar to those pushed by the Chinese Communist Party.

“You Americans are accused of having created the coronavirus. I don’t know how true it is, but when there’s such an allegation, what wise person would trust you to give them medicine?” Khamenei said on Sunday. “You could be giving medicines that spread the virus. You have no credibility, and there’s no way to trust you. You could be sending a medicine that causes the virus to remain permanently, so that it won’t go away.”

Khamenei said, “If you send us doctors or physicians, they might come to see firsthand the effect of the poison that they created” and also he alleged without evidence that the virus “is specifically built for Iran using the genetic data of Iranians which they have obtained through different means.”

"The Iranian nation cannot, will not accept this," Khamenei said.

Iran on Sunday enacted a two-week closure on major shopping centers in the country. Only pharmacies, supermarkets, groceries and bakeries remain open. The Health Ministry has reported more than 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,600 deaths, making it one of the hardest-hit countries in the world.

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