(BBC) – At least 210 people in Iran have died as a result of the new coronavirus disease, sources in the country’s health system have told BBC Persian.
Most of the victims are from the capital, Tehran, and the city of Qom, where cases of Covid-19 first emerged.
The figure is six times higher than the official death toll of 34 given by the health ministry earlier on Friday.
Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour insisted it was being transparent and accused the BBC of spreading lies.
It comes after a member of parliament for Qom accused the authorities of a cover-up and the US expressed concern that they may not be sharing information.
“We have made offers to the Islamic Republic of Iran to help,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a congressional committee in Washington on Friday.
“Their healthcare infrastructure is not robust and, to date, their willingness to share information about what’s really going on inside… Iran has not been robust.”
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed the offer of help.
“The claim to help Iran confront coronavirus by a country that has imposed expansive pressures on the Iranian nation through its economic terrorism and has even blocked the way for purchase of medical equipment and medicines is ridiculous and a political-psychological game,” he said.