Iran: Rouhani confirms Khamenei’s ban on Covid-19 vaccines

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, January 10, 2021—After Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei made it clear that he would be banning the import of approved Covid-19 vaccines into Iran, regime president Hassan Rouhani was quick to align himself with Khamenei’s criminal policy and make it clear that he has no intention to stop the deadly spread of coronavirus across Iran.

“There were vaccines available for us to import earlier. However, those were vaccines that they wanted to check on our people! There were some companies that suggested to us and our Health Ministry rightfully did not accept their proposal,” Rouhani claimed.

Ironically, Rouhani had claimed on December 28: “People can rest assured of the purchase of foreign vaccines is under way and the quality of the vaccines is being tested.” And previously, he had blamed delays in purchasing vaccines on U.S. sanctions. But now he made it clear that there is no intention to purchase foreign vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Following Rouhani’s remarks, Ali Rabiei, the government spokesperson, said, “Our plan from the beginning was… not to import foreign vaccines.”

Thousands will die

Before Rouhani, Khamenei explicitly said, “The entry of American and British Covid-19 vaccines into the country are banned. I have told this to our officials and now I am saying it publicly.”

The semi-official Tasnim news agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), reported that the regime has cancelled an existing deal for 150,000 shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine donated by U.S. philanthropists.

What is the regime’s alternative to globally approved vaccines? “One of the people’s demands is that we provide the vaccine at their disposal as soon as possible. This must be a vaccine that can be trusted, and the Health Ministry will clarify this for us. We may be able to produce a vaccine domestically… and to import a reliable vaccine from abroad… it will take time if we wish to vaccinate 60 million people,” Rouhani said.

But the regime’s own experts and officials have said that such a vaccine—if it every comes to fruition—won’t be available earlier than late June and tens of thousands more will die before it happens.

Condemnation of the regime’s criminal policy

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), condemned the regime’s criminal policy, especially as the death toll of Iran’s coronavirus outbreak is nearing 200,000.

Madam Rajavi stressed that Khamenei’s ban on Covid-19 vaccines is a crime against humanity and called on the international community to condemn the regime’s criminal policy.

“Having access to vaccines is an inalienable right of the sick and the people of Iran. By such criminal measures, the clerical regime will not be able to counter people’s protests and uprising,” Madam Rajavi said.

After the regime’s ban on foreign vaccines, the World Health Organization’s emergencies director Michael Ryan stressed that the world body had made repeated calls to “not politicize this virus”.

Bruce Aylward, a senior adviser to the WHO’s director-general, said, “It’s really time to put any kind of politics aside and make sure that vaccines get to the people that need them.”

Amnesty International condemned the move and declared: “Iran’s Supreme Leader banning lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines from the UK and US to millions of people in Iran is in step with the Iranian authorities’ decades-long contempt for human rights, including the right to life and health.”

Iranian people outraged

The state-run Sharq newspaper warned on January 9: “The coronavirus vaccine affair has become much more complicated for the people.” The daily added that while the world is moving fast to vaccinate everyone for free, the only definite news for the people of Iran is “the decision to not import vaccines from U.S. and UK.”

The people were quick to condemn the regime’s policy on social media. The wave of condemnation and outrage was so intense that the regime’s own media reported some of the comments made by users on social media. On January 9, the regime’s Khabar Fori website reported some of the comments made by users on social media:

  • You are very lowly
  • Haven’t you treated the people like Guinea pigs until now? And now you want to vindicate yourself with these comments?
  • We want the foreign vaccine
  • If you search the entire globe, you won’t find anyone that lies like you
  • You claimed that you were in the process of importing vaccines. What made you change your mind suddenly and reach the conclusion that the vaccines are bad?
  • Regime leaders have taken American vaccines and are moving around without masks. Their children are getting treated and vaccinated in the UK and Germany. But when it comes to the people, the vaccine is banned.

What’s clear is that the Khamenei and Rouhani are well aware of the people’s hatred for the regime in its entirety. They know that as soon as the shadow of coronavirus lifts, they will have to face the people’s wrath, as they saw during the November 2019 protests. That’s why they’re trying to delay the end of the outbreak as much as they can. But what’s for sure is that they can’t escape the inevitable fate of their regime, whose overthrow is long overdue.

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