Iranians can now donate money to help those affected by coronavirus in the country via the website of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Iran is the epicenter of coronavirus in the Middle East, with the government reporting 4,869 deaths and 77,995 cases as of Thursday.
The option to donate money to help coronavirus victims is the latest addition to the donations section on Khamenei’s website.
This section has accepted monetary donations for several reasons, including supporting the “resistance warriors in Lebanon” and the “oppressed people” of Yemen, Iraq, and Syria.
Last year, the US Embassy in Baghdad estimated Khamenei’s wealth to be around $200 billion.
Khamenei enjoys direct control of powerful financial institutions, including the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza, the Mostazafan Foundation, and the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam.
According to a 2013 Reuters investigation, the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam was worth about $95 billion.
An Iranian state-run newspaper recently called on these institutions to come to the aid of Iranians affected by the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. So far, no money from these institutions has been directed toward relief efforts.
Iran rejected US help for coronavirus on more than one occasion and instead launched a campaign calling for the sanctions against the Islamic Republic to be lifted, claiming they hinder Iran’s access to medicine and medical supplies – a claim that has been disputed by several Iranian officials, including Health Minister Saeed Namaki.
The US has refused to ease sanctions against Iran, pointing out that humanitarian goods, such as medicines, are exempt from sanctions.
US officials as well as the Iranian opposition argue that Khamenei has enough money to meet the country’s needs during the coronavirus pandemic.