Mike Pompeo says US deeply concerned Iran may covered up details about spread of coronavirus

States is deeply concerned by information indicating the Iranian regime may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak in that country,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters.

He also criticized Beijing for what he characterized as the censorship of media and medical professionals.

“All nations, including Iran, should tell the truth about the coronavirus and cooperate with international aid organizations,” he said.

Pressed on what steps the Trump administration might take, Pompeo declined to provide any details beyond saying a broad range of options were on the table.

“Expelling our journalists exposes once again the government’s issue that led to SARS and now the coronavirus - namely censorship. It can have deadly consequences,” Pompeo said, referring to the 2002-2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

“If China permitted its own and foreign journalists and medical personnel to speak and investigate freely, Chinese officials and other nations would have been far better prepared to address the challenge” of coronavirus, he added.

Pompeo said that despite the coronavirus epidemic, the United States planned to move forward and host a special meeting with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Las Vegas in March.

Iran’s coronavirus death toll rose to 16 on Tuesday.

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