FreeBeacon reports Iranian regime officials stole more than $1 billion meant to help the country’s people fight the spread of coronavirus, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
European countries intended for more than $1 billion in aid to go to the Iranian people, who have been ravaged by the virus. But American officials say regime leaders instead pocketed the money to protect themselves from the virus as it spreads throughout the population. This includes hoarding medical supplies that were meant to aid Iranian citizens.
Iran has been among the hardest hit by the virus, and its government’s response has drawn international criticism, especially from the Trump administration. Secretary of State Pompeo accused Iran of mass corruption as the regime continues to spread propaganda, including accusations that the United States manufactured the coronavirus and is using its tough global sanctions campaign to prevent Iran from accessing medicine and humanitarian aid.
Pompeo on Monday issued a series of new allegations about Tehran’s mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak. “Supreme leader [Ali] Khamenei’s fabrications regarding the Wuhan virus are dangerous and they put Iranians and people around the world at greater risk,” Pompeo said. “Facts matter.”
“Regime officials stole over a billion euros intended for medical supplies,” Pompeo said in one of the first public accountings of Iran’s alleged misuse of coronavirus funds. That sum amounts to well over one billion in American currency. Pompeo also said Iranian officials “continue to hoard desperately needed masks, gloves, and other medical equipment for sale on the black market.”
Iranian officials have disseminated falsehoods about the nature of U.S. sanctions, which do not include restrictions on humanitarian assistance. These talking points have been picked up by Tehran’s American allies, including members of the Obama administration’s so-called echo chamber, as part of an effort to see sanctions on Iran lifted.
Pompeo said part of the reason Iran has become a hotspot for the coronavirus is that the regime refuses to stop flights between Tehran and China. Iran’s Mahan Air—which is designated as a terrorist entity by the United States for its routine shipments of weapons and fighters across the Middle East—ran at least 55 flights between Tehran and China after most countries had enacted a travel ban.
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