Iran’s Health Ministry reported on Sunday that the death toll in the country from the COVID-19 virus had reached 1,685, with 129 deaths being reported in the past 24 hours.

“There were 1,028 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours … and 7,913 people have recovered,” a ministry spokesman told Iranian state television.

This puts the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in the Islamic Republic at 21,638, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, in a televised speech on Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected an offer from the United States to help battle the virus, calling American leaders  “charlatans and liars.”

“Several times Americans have offered to help us to fight the pandemic. That is strange because you face shortages in America. Also you are accused of creating this virus,” said Khamenei, according to Reuters.

Washington’s offer of assistance to Tehran came despite the high tensions between the two countries over Iran’s nuclear program, aggressive behavior and support for terrorism.

Iran has been the Middle Eastern country hit hardest by COVID-19.

Separately on Sunday, it was reported that Iranian Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari had claimed that the country’s military had not been affected by the outbreak.

“We are trying to keep everybody healthy and let them do their daily activities. As of today, there has been no single positive case [of coronavirus] in the military camps,” said Sayyari, according to the Iranian Tasnim News Agency.

He denied that any military bases have been closed.

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