01:31 GMT26 May 2020
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    The Islamic Republic became one of the first countries in the world to suffer a surge in novel coronavirus cases, but has since gone on to successfully curb infection rates, ease restrictions, and even create a homegrown serology-based test kit that it hopes to export abroad.

    Iran is continuing to use its resources to “foment terror” worldwide, even as the coronavirus crisis rages in the Middle Eastern country, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declared.

    “Even during this pandemic the Iranians are using the Ayatollah regime’s resources to foment terror across the world, even when the people of Iran are struggling so mightily,” the secretary of state said, speaking in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

    “It tells you a lot about the soul of those people who lead that country,” Pompeo added.

    The top US diplomat made the comments ahead of his talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. During those discussions, Pompeo commented on the strength of US-Israeli ties, promising that Washington would “consistently support” Tel Aviv in “the right to defend itself.”

    Iran’s Coronavirus Response

    Iran reported its first COVID-19 case on February 19, becoming one of the first countries in the world after China to experience a sharp surge in cases and fatalities. In the months since, authorities have managed to stabilize and bring down infection rates and fatalities, with the country presently reporting 110,000+ total cases and 6,733 coronavirus-related fatalities, including 88,000 complete recoveries.

    In the first weeks after the pandemic began, Iran repeatedly blasted the United States over its unilateral sanctions, urging Washington to ease restrictions to allow the country to earn the financial resources to allow it to import much-needed medical equipment and supplies. The US refused however, and even helped to block a $5 billion International Monetary Fund loan to Iran, while claiming that it was ready to help ordinary Iranians.

    © REUTERS / WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Ali Khara
    A view of beds at a shopping mall, one of Iran's largest, which has been turned into a centre to receive patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tehran, Iran, April 4, 2020

    In late March, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp Chief Hossein Salami slammed US claims about aid as “demagogy,” and defiantly claimed that “if the American nation needs help, we can render assistance to them, but we do not need their help.”

    In the meantime, Iranian scientists and medical industry ramped up the production of ICU and CCU equipment CT-scan machines, disinfectants and millions of protective masks, and created a domestically-developed serology-based test kit which they plan to export abroad, and a unique protective cover for medical personnel using ionized filtering technology touted as the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

    Medical firm staff work in a lab on coronavirus testing kits just outside Tehran, Iran, Saturday, April 11, 2020. A medical firm outside west of Tehran launched the production line of serology-based test kits that can discover whether a person has ever been exposed to the novel coronavirus or suffered from the COVID-19 disease and recovered or not.
    © AP Photo / Ebrahim Noroozi
    Medical firm staff work in a lab on coronavirus testing kits just outside Tehran, Iran, Saturday, April 11, 2020. A medical firm outside west of Tehran launched the production line of serology-based test kits that can discover whether a person has ever been exposed to the novel coronavirus or suffered from the COVID-19 disease and recovered or not.

    Iran eased lockdown restrictions and allowed for the resumption of low-risk business activities, reopening factories, workshops and some stores in late April. Mosques in low-risk areas were reopened last week.

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