Report: More than 200 dead from coronavirus in Iran

At least 210 people in Iran have died as a result of the new coronavirus disease, sources in the country’s health system have BBC Persian on Friday.

Most of the victims are from the capital, Tehran, and the city of Qom, where cases of COVID-19 first emerged, the sources said.

The figure cited by the sources is six times higher than the official death toll of 34 given by the Health Ministry.

Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour insisted it was being transparent and accused the BBC of spreading lies.

Earlier this week, a lawmaker from Qom, Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani, said that the death toll in Iran was higher than reported and accused the authorities of a cover-up.

Several government officials in Iran are known to have contracted the virus, including Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, Iranian MP Mahmud Sadagi and Iranian Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar.

On Friday, the US expressed concern that Iranian authorities may not be sharing information about the virus.

“We have made offers to the Islamic Republic of Iran to help,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a congressional committee in Washington.

“Their healthcare infrastructure is not robust and, to date, their willingness to share information about what’s really going on inside… Iran has not been robust,” he added.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed the offer of help.

“The claim to help Iran confront coronavirus by a country that has imposed expansive pressures on the Iranian nation through its economic terrorism and has even blocked the way for purchase of medical equipment and medicines is ridiculous and a political-psychological game,” he said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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