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Iran’s Rising COVID-19 Death Toll Indicate Failure of Regime’s Domestic Vaccine

According to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) over 458,700 have died due to the novel coronavirus as of Sunday, October 17, 2021. The Iranian regime’s engineered statistics on Sunday reported that the death toll from Covid-19 is approaching 125,000, while the total number of cases to date is approaching six million.  

Meanwhile, case numbers highlight the imminent threat of a “sixth wave” of infections. 

The current situation is due to the regime’s inhumane policies and practices with the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei directly leading this inhumane Covid-19 policy and actions.  

Chief among these actions was Khamenei’s decision, in January, to ban the import of Covid-19 vaccines from Western sources and to emphasize alternatives produced domestically. In comparison to vaccines endorsed by the World Health Organization, those alternatives have proven to be not effective and less extensively tested, with the latter featuring feature leaving the door open not only for the vaccine’s failure but also for the widespread emergence of severe side-effects. 

Khamenei bans import of Covid-19 vaccines

Recent reports indicate that both of these outcomes have been realized with the domestically made alternative to the WHO-approved vaccines. On Wednesday, the state-run newspaper Hamdeli published an article by health expert Mohammad Reza Mahboubfar which stated that the COVIran Barekat vaccine had stopped being administered and that the project for its production and dissemination had been dismantled in response to reports of side effects and a lack of public trust in its efficacy. 

That efficacy had been in question since the earliest stages of the project in question, yet with the regime still enforcing Khamenei’s ban on foreign imports, the decision was nonetheless made to fast-track production of 50 million doses within the first half of 2021. The country missed this goal by a wide margin, and on at least one occasion authorities seemed to loosen enforcement of the import ban in order to make up for the shortfall. The ban was reinforced in recent weeks, but with the silent failure of the Barekat alternative and the announcement of new foreign donations, it appears as if it may be wavering again. 

It is worth noting that the Barekat Covid-19 vaccine was produced by the Barkat Pharmaceuticals Holding Company which is controlled by the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO). EIKO is under the control of Ali Khamenei, the regime’s Supreme Leader.   

The Barekat vaccine is entirely ineffective, thus, Iran’s already low vaccination rates will trend backward as recipients find they are still in need of access to an imported alternative.  

Meanwhile, the prospective presence of those imports will cast further doubt upon Tehran’s prior talking points, which often overlooked Khamenei’s ban in order to claim that US sanctions on the regime were preventing Iran from receiving effective vaccine doses. This claim was rejected even before Khamenei’s ban first went into effect, with the international organizations behind vaccine distribution confirming that the US Treasury Department had provided licenses for Iran to purchase vaccines from any country. 

Such statements underscore the fact that if not for its regime’s policies, Iran could have responded much more quickly and effectively to the public health crisis. And judging by the numbers furnished by the MEK, doing so could have most likely saved tens of thousands of lives since the start of this year.