Iran Has Its Own Covid-19 Vaccine! But is it a Real Medical Breakthrough or One to Circumvent Sanctions?

Published December 30th, 2020 - 08:19 GMT
Iran Announced Its Own COVID19 Vaccine: A Real Medical Trial or Circumventing Sanctions?
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani revealed a US demand that Iranian payments for the COVID19 vaccine through US banks. (Shutterstock: mustafaclk)

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.

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.

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.

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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