Is Iran covering up its outbreak?

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Discussion posted by: Arye ben-Shaoul

In its first announcement on 19 February, the government told people not to worry about the virus. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Iran’s “enemies” of exaggerating the threat. A week later, as the number of cases and deaths surged, President Hassan Rouhani echoed the Supreme Leader’s words and warned against the “conspiracies and fear-mongering of our enemies”. He said these were designed to bring the country to a standstill and urged Iranians to continue their everyday lives and carry on going to work. Most recently, state-controlled TV programmes announced the coronavirus could be a US-manufactured “bioweapon”, with the Supreme Leader tweeting about a “biological attack”.