The coronavirus pandemic in Iran rages on, killing far more people than necessary, and all because the mullahs failed to take the appropriate measures at any stage. Yet still, the mullahs, including President Hassan Rouhani, continue to lie about the pandemic to justify their inaction regarding lockdowns and vaccinations.
It’s not that Rouhani and the rest of the officials are unaware of the national demand for free and effective vaccines, which have already been rolled about to vast swathes of the adult population in many countries, but they have certainly created a rod for their own backs about it over the past few months.
They’d already refused to buy any vaccines in January, but Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banned the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which meant that shipments sent over by a charity were wasted. He claimed that the pharmaceutical countries wanted to test the drugs on Iranians, even though both were already being administered to the general public in the US and UK, with President Joe Biden and Queen Elizabeth having already been vaccinated. Then, Rouhani spoke about a domestic vaccine that would be available at some point in the next two years and was laughed off by medical experts.
So, what now? Well, the government seems to be more aware that a failure to vaccinate the population could increase the people’s anger and lead to protests that would sweep them from power, so they’ve backtracked a little and Rouhani even said that “the first vaccine is the best” as if there was a choice of vaccines for the public.
One might question how much he believes in what he says when neighbouring countries began their vaccination process at the start of 2021 when Rouhani questioned vaccine effectiveness, and the government has still failed to import World Health Organisation-approved vaccines. One might even wonder if the vaccines will reach Iranians when even the state-run Arman daily reports that the officials are allowing “mafias” to import the vaccines in a likely embezzlement scam.
Food and Drug Organization spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour said on May 2: “Four-dollar vaccines are sold at $50, and $10 vaccines are imported at $25-70… Many companies that import vaccines do not work in the field of vaccines at all.”
The state-run Aftab-e Yazd daily wrote that the vaccines are being “monopolized” and that the country faces a “phenomenon called ‘vaccine smuggling’”.
And even worse, now you can find the vaccine on the black market. The state-rund daily Donya-e-Eghtesad on May 11 wrote: “The vaccine is available on the black market, but it is not clear whether this vaccine is real or not, the customer must trust and pay a thousand euros for the Russian vaccine.
According to this report and quoted by the pharmacists of the Nasser Khosrow street, it is said that the Chinese vaccine will be available in 10 days.
“Iran has 8,574 kilometers of border with 7 countries, and this has caused everything that is offered to the European market, the United States or even the Far East to be available in the Iranian market 48 hours later.
“According to field observations, the price of two doses of Russian vaccine in Iran is one thousand euros and they do not accept its equivalent in Rials. There is no guarantee as to whether this vaccine is genuine or not.”
The Iranian Resistance wrote: “The reality is that people are losing their lives during the Covid-19 fourth wave, and there are no vaccines. The private sector, rather the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) front companies and state-linked mafias, are about to import Covid-19 vaccines, sell them in the free market. In other words, trade vaccine with Iranian people’s blood.”