Politics

Iran minister accuses 'some countries' of not declaring their coronavirus cases

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Key Points
  • The accuracy of the Islamic Republic's data on the outbreak has been called into question, with 3,513 cases and 107 deaths confirmed by the country so far.
  • While it is not clear which specific countries Zangeneh was referring to, both Turkey and North Korea have been under scrutiny for claiming they have no diagnosed cases.
Iran's petroleum minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.
Stefan Wermuth | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Iran's oil minister has hit out at other countries for not declaring confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

The accuracy of the Islamic Republic's data on the outbreak has been called into question, with 3,513 cases and 107 deaths confirmed by the country so far.

But Bijan Namdar Zangeneh told reporters ahead of Friday's OPEC meeting in Vienna: "I believe that we are announcing and declaring our situation and some countries don't say anything about their situation."

While it is not clear which specific countries he was referring to, both Turkey and North Korea have been under scrutiny for claiming they have no diagnosed cases.

Zanganeh also criticized the U.S., claiming broader sanctions on Iranian goods and services were preventing the country from accessing vital food and medicine for its citizens.

He said Iran has not "received any important assistance from any country" and accused U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of "lying."

A citizen wears a medical mask as a precaution against coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 01, 2020 in Tehran, Iran.
Anadolu Agency

Pompeo told the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week that the U.S. had made offers of humanitarian assistance to help Iran contain the outbreak.

"Food, oil, oil products, petrochemicals, iron, copper — all are under the sanction. With which money can we buy food and drugs for the Iranian people?" Zanganeh said on Friday.

In 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal which had lifted crippling economic sanctions on Iran, in exchange for curbs to Iranian nuclear infrastructure.

The U.S. has since imposed a raft of further sanctions on Iranian exports as it seeks to rein in Iranian nuclear development and alleged regional acts of aggression.

The State Department was not immediately available to comment when contacted by CNBC Friday morning.