With over 1.21 million confirmed cases and at least 50,000 dead from COVID-19, Iran's ability to purchase the globally-celebrated vaccines has been questioned, especially as the country suffers from tightening US sanctions.
Respect to Iranian scientists who, despite sanctions and pressure, are able to start their own COVID-19 vaccine human trials. Only a few countries around the world reached this stage, it doesn’t matter whether they succeed or fail, “it’s the courage to continue that counts” pic.twitter.com/3RLLqMF9AN— Ali Hashem علي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) December 29, 2020
Yesterday, Iranian scientists joined by government representatives announced the start of Phase 1 of the clinical and human trials that aims to develop a local vaccine against Covid-19, hoping it will be approved and rolled out for the public by the summer of 2021.
Celebrating the fact that Iran is embarking on the challenging endeavor despite the US sanctions which have worsened in recent months, many social media users saluted the country's courage to even put in the effort and resources to try and come up with its own vaccine.
This comes amid intense discussions over the country's ability to purchase the other available vaccines, not only due to the severe financial crisis in Iran but also to the US sanctions that limited Tehran's ability to do so.
Earlier this week, AFP reported statements made by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in which he revealed that Washington demands Iranian payments for the COVID19 vaccine should be made through US banks. Rouhani fears such a procedure could result in the US seizing the money as per sanctions, even though medicine-related purchases are supposed to be exempt from the US-imposed sanctions.
Iran's Red Crescent says 150k doses of Pfizer vaccines to be transferred to Iran over the next 3 weeks "in collaboration with philanthropists based in the US".— Hadi Nili (@HadiNili) December 28, 2020
They later said it's just 15k doses, not 150k.
Does @pfizer distribute covid vaccines other than through governments? https://t.co/PcmVHglX5C
Yet, some have expressed their doubts about the Iranian vaccine. Is it an actual one they ask, saying it could be a cover for other vaccination campaigns using American or Chinese jabs purchased through unusual channels to circumvent sanctions or portray the Iranian government in a positive light.
The regime provides no details on when & where the vaccine is purchased. Rouhani sheds crocodile tears:“We are not prepared to let our people go through the testing period of an unreliable vaccine” & the head of the Red Crescent reveals:“The purchased vaccines are Chinese.” #Iran— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) December 28, 2020
Last Monday, Iranian media outlets reported plans of anonymous US-based philanthropists to send at least 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Iran within three weeks, notwithstanding the US sanctions on the country.
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