Coronavirus ‘test from God’: Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (Reuters)

Iran had no delays in announcing the spread of coronavirus to the country, President Hassan Rouhani stressed on Wednesday, calling the virus a “test from God.”

As of Wednesday, 1,135 in Iran have died from coronavirus, and there are 17,361 confirmed cases.

Read more: Coronavirus ‘not that big of deal’: Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei

“Coronavirus is a test from God. We have been honest with people regarding the virus. Do not pay attention to what some media outlets and individuals say,” Rouhani said.

“We realized coronavirus was in Iran on February 19, and the people were informed of that on the same day,” he added.

“We had an election on February 21, and we could have waited until after the election to inform the public, but we did not,” said the Iranian president. “We were honest with people.”

Deputy health minister Reza Malekzadeh said last week that the government had “some delay in informing the public” about the spread of coronavirus to Iran. Malekzadeh did not say exactly how many days Iran delayed announcing the spread of the virus to the country.

Read more: Iranian state TV presenter begs people to stay home due to coronavirus

Rouhani compared Iran’s transparency on the spread of coronavirus with its transparency on the downing of a Ukrainian airliner back in January.

“The armed forces were also honest with people regarding the Ukrainian plane,” said Rouhani. “The false propaganda that has been launched against us on various issues, including coronavirus, is untrue and we had no delay.”

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down a Ukraine International Airlines jet on January 8, killing all 176 onboard.

Iran claimed for days the plane crashed due to a “technical failure,” before admitting to shooting down the plane.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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