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Iran and COVID-19 Vaccine: Another Lever To Increase Pressure on People

The world rejoiced at the discovery of the Covid-19 vaccine. After a long battle with this ominous disease, apparently, humanity has taken a step forward. People in many countries are about to receive free vaccinations. Yet, this is not the case in Iran under the mullahs’ regime, where authorities have called the coronavirus “a divine blessing.”

Now, as many countries have started the vaccination, the regime’s officials try to blame their inaction on sanctions or deceive people by giving hollow promises of producing domestic “vaccines.

The regime’s Health Minister, Said Namaki, recently claimed they want to transfer money to procure the vaccine, but the sanctions prevent them. Prior to Namaki, the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani, and Abdolnasser Hemmati, the Central Bank Chief, blamed sanctions for the regime’s delay in importing Covid-19 vaccines.

All the while, Nasser Riahi, the head of the Iranian Drug Importers’ Union, said there is no problem in transferring currency for the import of the vaccine and other pharmaceutical items to Iran.

“It is possible to transfer currency to buy the Covid-19 vaccine and other medicines, and the claims [that the regime’s officials] made in this case are not true,” Riahi said in an interview with the state-run Sepid daily on December 9.

Hemmati had claimed that United States sanctions were preventing the regime from procuring the vaccine through the COVAX payment facility, jointly managed by Geneva-based Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization.

Gavi immediately rejected this claim. This organization’s spokesperson said was no “legal barrier” to Iran obtaining vaccines through COVAX as the U.S. Treasury’s Office on Foreign Assets Control had issued a license covering coronavirus vaccine procurement.

The state-run Aftab-e Yazd daily on December 14 published an interview with Mohammad Reza Mahboubfar, a member of the Anti-Coronavirus Task Force, further rejecting the absurd claims of the regime’s officials about procuring vaccines.

“The Covid-19 vaccine has been imported illegally from credential countries, and it is passed among elites, officials and their family members,” Aftab-e Yazd quoted Mahboubfar as saying.

“The root of the people’s distrust lies not only with the Covid-19 crisis but also with many other social issues in the country,” Mahboubfar added.

“People should know that there is no news of the vaccine in Iran at the moment. Assuming that there are no sanctions and that it is easy to import the vaccine from the United States, we still need to know the fact that it will take at least two years for the Covid-19 to arrive in Iran. It is not possible for the vaccine to arrive in the country any time soon,” Homayoun Sameh, Member of the Parliamentary Health Commission, told the state-run ISNA news agency on November 24.

The Iranian regime deliberately covered up and downplayed the crisis so it could use it to control an explosive society. The November 2019 nationwide protests and the unprecedented boycott of the regime’s sham parliamentary elections showed the clerics in power that their conflict with the people has reached an irreversible point.

When the Covid-19 crisis got out of the regime’s control and a possibility of an uprising by an abandoned nation during the pandemic loomed, many officials changed their position and called the virus deadly, and apparently mourned for the victims.

Yet, from the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to other regime officials no one acted. Instead, officials systematically tried to either blame people for allegedly not “abiding by health regulations” or the international sanctions for reducing the regime’s capability to address the coronavirus crisis.

Iran’s clerical regime is the only government that has used the deadly virus against the people.

The regime’s inaction and now it is playing with the vaccine issue are meant to quell the society and make people desperate. Once people lose hope in receiving free ratified vaccines, the regime will be able to plunder them further to produce the so-called “domestic vaccine.”

Every penny for the regime counts, so it could continue its destabilizing activities in the region.

But this will have a heavy price for the regime. And as Mahboubfar warned, “If the other countries start the vaccination while we are still waiting, society’s tolerance will end.”