Iran Hits Back at Criticism for Banning Vaccines
Following criticism from the World Health Organization over Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s decision to ban vaccines made in the US or UK, his medical adviser insisted that the regime had the “right to decide about the vaccine”.
Alireza Marandi, who is the Head of the Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences, wrote to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on January 11, saying that Iran “independent, and it is our absolute right to reject vaccines that use untrustworthy technology, or have inadequate testing, safety or reliability” before calling on Guterres not to “politicize” Iran’s choices.
In this letter, published by Iran’s state-run media, Marandi defended the ban because of “side effects” associated with “mRNA technology” and accused the WHO of favouring American technology.
On January 8, Khamenei banned the three main vaccines that are currently being administered, calling them “untrustworthy” and accusing America and Britain of seeking to test the vaccine on other nations first, which doesn’t explain why these countries have already vaccinated millions of their own people. (In fact, the UK was the first country to approve and roll out a coronavirus vaccine — the Pfizer one — and President-elect Joe Biden has received both doses of that same vaccine.)
Following this speech, where Khamenei endorsed a domestic vaccine that does not yet exist, Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director at WHO Health Emergencies Programme, begged people not to “politicize” the vaccine, as this would lead to further deaths.
While Amnesty International said: “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.”
Khamenei’s order also led to the cancellation of a deal for Iran’s Red Crescent to distribute 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, paid for by US charities.
The Iran vaccine
As noted, there is no Iran vaccine yet for COVID-19, but Mostafa Ghanei, the Head of the Sciences Committee at the National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce, announced on Monday that they would begin phase three clinical trials of a Cuban vaccine that would be tested on thousands of Iranians and Cubans. So far, the vaccine, which Ghanei said would be Iran’s first vaccine option, has been tested on just 156 people.
Originally published at http://freedomstarblog.wordpress.com on January 14, 2021.