In Iran, media outlets controlled by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei try to justify the government’s refusal to purchase Covid-19 vaccines. For instance, on January 14, Asr-e Iran daily quoted a letter signed by ‘2,500 physicians’ as explaining irreparable consequences of U.S. and British vaccines.
In response, during political rivalries, outlets linked to President Hassan Rouhani revealed parts of the truth. “Who would believe your words?” wrote Arman daily, affiliated with the ‘reformist faction.’
“Recent remarks raised by some authorities and officials have intensified skepticism over the effect of political reasons on the Covid-19 vaccine issue. These remarks either prompted the people to mock them or question the [government’s] strategy,” the daily wrote on January 14.
“Obviously, several individuals just reiterate or raise comments to make someone happy. However, these remarks lack a scientific basis,” Arman added.
In this context, Iranian officials have raised strange comments. For instance, Ali Asghar Annabestani, member of the Parliament (Majlis) Social Affairs Commission, said, “American and British vaccines will make its users sterile and they are carcinogenic.” This is while according to Iranian officials, Tehran has yet to receive any shot of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and certainly has yet to make scrutiny.
On the other hand, Hossein Kan’ani Moghaddam, a figure close to Khamenei, claimed that the U.S. and UK have planned to install a GPS tracker in our bodies, which would make us such iron men. “Remarks such as these are nothing but a shot in one’s own foot,” Arman wrote.
“Earlier, officials had announced that the sanctions have blocked the country from procuring vaccines. This is an issue and contradiction that needs to be questioned… However, GPS trackers, sterilizing, and carcinogen consequences, or survey results are not a helpful answer,” the daily added.
Also, Mardom Salari, daily another media aligned with ‘reformists’, quoted the remarks of an anonymous South Korean official in its January 14 edition. “This [South] Korean official claimed that Seoul has fulfilled all required procedures for transferring the money, including taking a special license from the U.S. However, it is entirely at Iran’s discretion how this country would like to purchase the Covid-19 vaccine,” the daily wrote.
However, the Iranian government still refrains from procuring reliable Covid-19 vaccine while the virus claims more lives every hour. Furthermore, back on January 8, Reuters reported an agreement signed between Iran and Cuba to carry out the last stage of the vaccine clinical tests in Iran.
The fact is that while Khamenei has prohibited the government from procuring necessary doses of Covid-19 vaccines from credible companies, Iranian officials put the lives of Iranian citizens at risk by testing unsafe vaccines on the people to gain political advantages.
This is the flipside of Iranian authorities’ horrible policies at the expense of Iranians’ lives and health. Such decisions have not only prompted people’s anger but have also prompted officials to oppose high-ranking officials openly.
“The priority to procure and purchase the vaccine is a dire necessity that must be carried out solely based on a scientific approach and according to national interests, going beyond any political reservations,” wrote the head of the Medical Apparatus Organization and chair of the National Scientific Associations in a joint letter to Rouhani on January 11.
Meanwhile, on December 10, a member of the National Covid-19 Task Force Minoo Mohraz said in an interview with Ruydad24 that she does not recommend the Chinese and Russian vaccines. Both vaccines are made up of a weak vaccine and are similar to the Iranian vaccine, according to the website.