Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, April 21, 2021—Vaccination against the novel coronavirus in Iran is one of the vital demands of the people. But the regime has not only taken any serious step to provide vaccination, it has instead sought to delay it. Back in January, the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei openly banned the purchase of WHO-approved Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in the U.S. or the UK, which inflicted more pain and damage to the society.
Now months later, the regime’s propaganda apparatus is engaged in a psychological warfare to reduce social sensitivity.
Alireza Raisi, the spokesperson of the Coronavirus Task Force Committee said on April 19, “Vaccination is free, but people can also use the imported companies’ vaccines and pay for it.”
The regime’s Red Crescent announced on April 19 more clearly that they will “import Covid-19 Vaccines in the upcoming days, but they will not be free.”
From the outset, the regime tried to use the Covid-19 outbreak as a buffer against social protests. This was especially vital for the regime, as it had just come out of a major nationwide uprising in November 2019 and was at its weakest point. The regime banked on “high human casualties” preventing further protests from a population whose rage has just been kept in check through brutal suppression by security forces.
Therefore, the regime was neither willing and nor able to vaccinate the people. Regime president Hassan Rouhani deceitfully blamed U.S. sanctions as the main obstacle to import vaccines, while trying to take advantage of the suffering of the Iranian people to score political points and obtain economic benefits.
It is also worth reminding that both the United States and the World Health Organization rejected the regime’s claims about U.S. sanctions hampering Iran’s ability to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. It is the regime itself that has been the main instigator and facilitator of the coronavirus outbreak.
Now the regime is trying to dampen public outrage with small imports of Covid-19 vaccines.
Rouhani said on March 27, “We adopted a measure today allowing the private sector to import vaccines.” The private sector is another name for entities linked to the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Khamenei. As a result, imported vaccines will be another medium for theft and plundering the Iranian people’s money.
Soon after, some pharmaceutical companies announced that vaccines are only delivered to governments and armies and not the private companies, and even in countries where anything can be bought with money, vaccines are not sold to private entities and are made available to government institutions to provide free vaccination to the public.
As it did with Covid-19 treatment drugs, the regime’s sought to sell vaccines through its network of merchants at skyrocketing prices in the free market and dig its hands in people’s pockets to gain more money. This is while the majority of the Iranian people live under the poverty line and are literally to survive. The current economic circumstances have ruined people’s lives, and many are unable to buy the most basic needs such as poultry, bread, and eggs.
By selling vaccines in the free market, the message the regime is sending to the people is: “If you have money you’ll live, otherwise, you are doomed to die!”
Even state-run media are questioning this policy and warning against the consequences. “Selling vaccines is nothing but corruption, distrust, discrimination, and creating black markets,” wrote the state-run daily Javan on April 19.
“Those who are in a rush can pay to get vaccine shots. First, it was announced to be free but those who are affected are complaining about the high costs of the treatments,” wrote the daily Mardom Salari on April 19.
The regime’s criminal measures will have social consequences. Many factions warn of the “ticking social bomb” of the Iranian society and the public outrage that has already manifested itself in five major uprisings in the past two-and-half years. But at this point, it seems that the regime is in a deadlock, and no matter what path it chooses, waiting at the end will be the wrath of the Iranian people and their demands of regime change.