Iran is the Middle Eastern nation worst hit by coronavirus, with around 1,700 deaths, over 21,000 infected, but the nation has rejected fresh offers of aid from the United States.
Instead Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday (March 23) that if the Washington was serious about helping contain the coronavirus outbreak, then it should lift sanctions in the country.
In a televised speech Rouhani called American leaders liars, going on to say they could deal with the virus, if sanctions were lifted.
He also added Iran had no intention of accepting Washington's offer of humanitarian assistance.
Tensions between the two countries have been running high since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump exited Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal struck with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have had a huge effect on the Iranian economy.
It appears these rival nations are entering a new period in their long-running stand off, with the U.S. replying in a blunt message, saying the spread of the virus will not save Iran from U.S. sanctions that are choking off its oil revenues and isolating its economy.