February 28, 2020 / 2:17 PM / a month ago

Pompeo says U.S. offered to help Iran with coronavirus response

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 25, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday the United States has offered to help with the coronavirus response in Iran, where the outbreak has killed 34 people, and raised doubts about Tehran’s willingness to share information.

“We have made offers to the Islamic Republic of Iran to help,” Pompeo said in a hearing at House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Their healthcare infrastructure is not robust and to date, their willingness to share information about what’s really going on inside...Iran has not been robust and I am very concerned that....it is Iran that is not sharing information.”

The new coronavirus which emerged in Wuhan, China, in December has infected tens of thousands of people.

The Islamic Republic is the only country in the Gulf region that has reported deaths from the coronavirus, which has spread from China. People also have been infected in Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Tehran had already canceled Friday prayers in the capitals of 23 of Iran’s 31 provinces because of the outbreak, including in Tehran and the Shi’ite Muslim holy cities of Qom and Mashhad.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Alex Richardson and David Gregorio

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