Mehdi Taeb, head of Iranian think tank close to Khamenei, blames US for coronavirus
A close associate of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the latest Iranian official to blame the US for the coronavirus pandemic.
“This virus is something that the devil's disciples made and spread … its source is America,” cleric Mehdi Taeb said on Thursday.
Taeb is the head of the Ammar Headquarters think tank which advises Khamenei. His brother, Hossein Taeb, is the head of the Intelligence Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“[The US] saw that Iran has become the torch of guidance to the world, so it created this virus to shut the source of divine guidance,” he said.
“It has been said that knowledge is spread from Qom to the world … they understood this well and came to extinguish this torch. The extinguishing of this torch hits humanity,” Taeb added.
“It did not matter to them how many people in the world would get the virus and how many people would be killed,” he added.
The Shia holy city of Qom was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran, which has killed 3,739 and infected 60,500 in the country as of Monday.
Several high-ranking officials within the Islamic Republic have blamed the US for the spread of coronavirus.
Supreme Leader Khamenei said on March 22 that Iran will not accept any US aid against coronavirus given it is “accused of producing the virus.”
Hossein Salami, the head of the IRGC, said in early March that the outbreak may be due to a US “biological attack” on Iran.
Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Hashem Bathaei-Golpaygani had accused the US of “producing” and “spreading” coronavirus in China. He later died of the virus.