Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has prohibited imports of Covid-19 vaccines from the United States and the United Kingdom.
In a televised speech on Friday, the supreme leader said he has no confidence in vaccines coming out of the two Western powers since they have some of the highest mortality rates in the world.
“If the Americans had managed to manufacture a vaccine, this coronavirus fiasco wouldn’t have happened in their own country,” he said, adding that the US is now registering a daily death toll of 4 000 people.
“If they can create a vaccine, if their Pfizer factory can manufacture a vaccine, then why do they want to give it to us? They should consume it themselves so they wouldn’t have so many deaths.”
Khamenei said the same applies to the UK, and that he does not trust the US and the UK since they may wish to test out their vaccines on other nations.
Iran’s government is also trying to secure 16.8 million doses of vaccines from Covax, a global vaccine effort operating under the World Health Organization.
On Friday, Khamenei praised efforts to manufacture vaccines in Iran, saying they are a source of “pride”.
Iran launched the human trials of its first vaccine candidate, COVIran Barekat, on December 29.