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Iran lauds China's 'successful' fight against coronavirus, slams US exploitation of epidemic

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo taken on January 28, 2020 shows medical staff members checking medicine in an isolation ward at a hospital in Zouping in China's easter Shandong province. (By AFP)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has praised China for taking “successful” measures to contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak, slamming the United States for attempting to exploit the health crisis caused by the pandemic.

Posting two tweets in Chinese language on Tuesday, Zarif said that he had in a telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, stressed that Tehran stands firm by Beijing as the coronavirus spreads across the world.

“I expressed appreciation and gratitude for China’s successful measures to fight the epidemic. China prevented the epidemic not only from getting worse at home but also from spreading internationally,” he said.

Zarif also tweeted a poem of Iranian poet Saadi Shirazi, from the 13th century, entitled Bani Adam (Children of Adam), reading, “The sons of Adam are limbs of each other having been created of one essence. When the calamity of time affects one limb, the other limbs cannot remain at rest.”

He further criticized the United States for taking advantage of the epidemic, saying, “China is obviously more responsible and successful than the United States in preventing and controlling H1N1 flu in 2009.”

The US State Department recently raised its China travel advisory to "Level 4: Do Not Travel" over the spread of the coronavirus, whose death toll in China has risen to 425, with the total number of cases standing at 20,438. 

It also declared a public health emergency and said it would deny entry to any foreign nationals who have visited China in the past two weeks. The US has confirmed 11 cases of the coronavirus.

In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, President Trump said the US has "shut down" the coronavirus coming in from China. 

"We've offered China help but we can't have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus," he said. "So we're going to see what happens, but we did shut it down."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying complained that America's actions have "unceasingly manufactured and spread panic."

"It is precisely developed countries like the United States with strong epidemic prevention capabilities and facilities that have taken the lead in imposing excessive restrictions contrary to [World Health Organization] recommendations," she said.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also sparked anger in China by saying that the coronavirus outbreak could help bring jobs to America, a comment that was quickly criticized as insensitive to China’s plight.

Elsewhere in his telephone conversation with Wang, Zarif said Iran has provided China with a certain amount of urgently needed medical supplies, and stands ready to offer more assistance and work together with China to combat the epidemic.

The top Chinese diplomat, for his part, thanked Tehran for supporting Beijing in fighting the epidemic, hailing Zarif as the first foreign minister publicly backing China.

Wang also thanked Iran for providing China with medical supplies at the critical moment of epidemic prevention and control.

The flu-like coronavirus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan about a month ago. It has already spread to more than 20 countries, with at least 151 cases scattered around the globe.

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