The United States State Department made the aggressive move of actively accusing Iran of lying about the number of citizens infected and killed by the deadly coronavirus. The State Department also claimed that the government was jailing dissenters who have tried to speak out about the true state of affairs.
The Iranian regime has listed its total number of infected civilians at 27,017 and deaths at 2,077. However, according to the Washington Free Beacon, the State Department has claimed that the true numbers are substantially higher and that activists who have tried to give a true estimate of the death toll have been silenced.
"The regime has imprisoned dozens of Iranians for sharing statistics and forced hospital officials across Iran to falsify the number of cases and deaths," said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.
Iran has been one of the countries hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus, with a number of government officials dying from the disease, including one of the vice presidents of the country.
According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an exiled opposition group, dissidents inside Iran have suggested that up to 6,000 Iranians have died from the virus at present. This would be supported by the images captured by satellites that appeared to show thousands of newly created mass graves.
As a result of the coronavirus crisis, the Middle Eastern nation has received a substantial amount of aid from the European Union, which gave the country 20 million Euros in relief money.
However, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the regime was not spending money on coronavirus-related activities and instead using the funds for other purposes.
"Regime officials stole over a billion euros intended for medical supplies," Pompeo said.
The allegation was echoed by Richard Goldberg, who served as a senior Iran adviser on President Donald Trump's National Security Council.
"Rather than invest in their own people, the mullahs spend money on terrorist proxies outside Iran's borders, expensive missile tests, and costly nuclear expansions. Now they have to choose whether to keep funding their illicit activities or spend money on the people—and they'd rather get an international bailout or sanctions relief so they won't have to choose," he said.
International experts have pointed out that the regime would have reason to cover up the true scale of the COVID-19 crisis following a number of protests that criticized the government late last year. The rallies hit a peak after it was revealed that the Iranian government had accidentally shot down a passenger jet after originally denying responsibility.