In response to criticism by the World Health Organization on Iran’s vaccine ban, a close medical adviser to the regime’s Supreme Leader said it was the regime’s “right to decide about the vaccine”.
Speaking at the Geneva conference on January 8, Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director at WHO Health Emergencies Programme had said, “Please let us not politicize this vaccine.”
According to the state-run reports, in a letter published on January 11 to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, Alireza Marandi wrote “we are independent and it is our absolute right to reject vaccines that use untrustworthy technology, or have inadequate testing, safety or reliability.”
The Head of Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences also wrote, “We would be grateful if you do not further politicize our decisions.”
Marandi defended Iran’s vaccine ban, criticizing US and UK made vaccines for their “mRNA technology” and said they had “side-effects”. He accused the WHO of being inclined towards American technology.
This came after Ali Khamenei banned the import of US and UK vaccines because they were “untrustworthy” during a January 8 televised speech.
“If the US and Pfizer can make vaccines, they should use it themselves to prevent so many of their deaths,” Ali Khamenei said.
The regime’s Supreme Leader said the US and UK wanted to “test their vaccines on other nations”. He also endorsed the so-called “Iran made” vaccine that was supposedly tested on volunteers last week. Khamenei called this vaccine “the country’s pride”.
This is while Mostafa Ghanei, the Head of the Sciences Committee at the National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce announced on January 11 that phase three of clinical trials of a Cuban vaccine would be tested on thousands of Iranian citizens and Cubans.
Ghanei said the Cuban vaccine would be the primary option for vaccination in Iran.
“The vaccine which is co-produced with Cuba in Iran was tested on 56 people in Cuba in the first phase and over 100 others in the second phase,” he said.
Following Khamenei’s remarks, the spokesperson for Iran’s Red Crescent said Iran’s request for Pfizer vaccines had been canceled. The Red Crescent had said on December 28 that 150,000 Pfizer vaccines would be imported to Iran with the help of American “charities”.
In a January 8 state, Amnesty International condemned Iran’s vaccine ban.
“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,” the rights group said.
Iran’s Health Ministry said today that 56,360 Iranians had died from COVID-19.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition group that accuses the regime of lying about the number of deaths, said that the actual death toll was well over 200,000 in 478 cities, more than three times the official figures.