Saturday, January 9th 2021
“Not a test laboratory for vaccines”
Iran blocks vaccine imports from the USA
Iran’s supreme leader cancels orders for 150,000 corona vaccination doses from Biontech and Pfizer. If the vaccine were effective, thousands of Americans would not die every day, the rationale was. However, the country is open to deliveries from “safe locations”. However, it is questionable whether importation is possible.
Iran’s top leader has banned US and UK corona vaccines from entering the country. “If these vaccines had been effective, the Americans would not have thousands of corona deaths a day,” said Ayatollah Khamenei on state television. Iran must not become a test laboratory for unsafe vaccines.
The background to the ban could be the more than 40 years of political hostility between Iran and the USA. Iran prefers to avoid American productions as much as possible. The Red Crescent immediately canceled orders for 150,000 vaccine doses from Biontech and Pfizer. Imports of vaccines from “safe places” are not a problem, according to the cleric, who according to the Iranian constitution has the last word on all strategic matters.
Iran has been testing its own developed corona vaccine called “Coviran Barekat” since last month. According to the Ministry of Health, the test subjects are doing well and the tests should therefore be continued. According to President Hassan Ruhani, the country will soon also introduce foreign vaccines. The Iranian central bank has made available 200 million euros for the import of vaccines.
However, it is feared that importing the foreign vaccines is currently not feasible. Because of the US sanctions, Iran has no access to the global banking system and therefore problems with payment transactions. According to official information, these also affect the ordering of vaccines.
Due to a strict lockdown, the number of cases in Iran has fallen in recent weeks, but between 85 and 100 deaths and over 6000 new infections are still registered every day. Since the pandemic began in late February, there have been more than 56,000 deaths and almost 1.3 million corona infections in the country. A mass vaccination against Corona for the almost 83 million Iranians is due to start next March.