Iran’s Supreme Leader Bans Import of COVID Vaccines Made in US, UK
In a televised message, he said that their import was “prohibited,” in light of the death tolls in the countries.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday, 8 January, banned the country from importing US- and UK-made vaccines against COVID-19, saying that he does not trust those nations, AP reported.
In a televised message on Friday, Khamenei said that their import was “prohibited,” keeping in mind the increasing number of COVID cases and high death tolls in both the US and the UK, according to Al Jazeera.
“If the Americans had managed to manufacture a vaccine, this coronavirus fiasco wouldn’t have happened in their own country,” he said, according to the report.
He also questioned why Pfizer would want to give the vaccine to Iran, saying that the US should use it instead to prevent the mounting number of deaths.
Khamenei added that that he does not trust the US and the UK since “they may wish to test out their vaccines on other nations”, Al Jazeera reported.
"It's not unlikely they would want to contaminate other nations," Khamenei also said in a tweet.
In his tweet, he added that he would not trust France and their vaccines either, keeping in mind “our experience with France's HIV-tainted blood supplies.”
According to AFP, this referred to a incident in the 1980s when blood infected with HIV was distributed in France.
However, Khamenei said he approved of the import of COVID vaccines from other “safe” countries, according to AP.
According to the report, Iranian hardliners have been opposed to the use of vaccines made in the US, with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard saying that it was against the use of foreign-made vaccines completely.
Khamenei’s order on Friday has caused the Iranian Red Crescent Society to halt its plans to import 150,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
“The Red Crescent Society will act based on the supreme leader’s remarks as they distinguish right from wrong concerning all issues including importing corona vaccines,” spokesperson Mohammad Hassan Ghosian told the Tasnim news website, according to AFP.
(With inputs from AFP, AP and Al Jazeera.)
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