Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a recent televised address that the coronavirus pandemic has been a test for the governments and peoples of the world.
He commended the Iranian people for having “shone brightly” under the circumstances, while criticizing the way the West has reacted to the pandemic.
Giving the examples of Western governments “confiscating” masks and gloves from other governments, shelves in grocery stores being emptied, people getting in altercations over toilet paper, people standing in line to buy weapons, and people committing suicide out of fear of the coronavirus, Khamenei said that this is the natural and logical outcome of the individualistic, materialistic, and atheistic philosophy that rules Western civilization.
He further claimed that even Western officials are saying that the “spirit of savagery” in the West is being manifested.
The address aired on Iran’s Channel 1 on April 9 and was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Iran announced its first coronavirus cases on February 19 and since then has become the worst-hit country in the Middle East.
At least 31 members of the Iranian parliament have contracted the virus, including its speaker Ali Larijani, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.
High-profile deaths in Iran from the coronavirus include a member of the council advising the Ayatollah, a former ambassador, a newly-elected member of parliament, an adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and a re-elected member of parliament.
A top adviser to Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, was also reported to have been infected with the virus.