2021-May-18 19:31
2021-April-19  19:21

Health Minister Blames US Sanctions for Delayed Coronavirus Vaccination in Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki blasted the US for continued sanctions which prevent Iran’s easy access to medicine and medical equipment, saying that embargos are the cause of delay in starting public coronavirus vaccination in the country.

“Supply and distribution of vaccines in the world is suffering injustice and it should be addressed by the international organizations and today 85% of vaccines are taken in a limited number of countries,” Namaki said on Monday.

“Unfortunately, due to the (US) cruel sanctions, we can access the vaccine with difficulty,” he added.

Namaki said that one million doses of vaccine, which unfortunately arrived in the country with a delay in the second half of April, will be injected to the priority groups in the country as of Monday, noting that the first phase of coronavirus vaccination in Iran will be completed late in April and the second phase will start in May.

The Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), former Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on September 12, 2020 blasted the US administration for blocking the country’s efforts to receive loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fight against coronavirus, saying that the American officials have forgotten humanity.

“We demanded the IMF for $5bln to assist us during the coronavirus outbreak for vaccine and medicine; all parties have voiced their agreement, but the US does not allow us to take the loan. They have distanced themselves from humanity to such an extent,” Rouhani said.

He added that even the friendly states whose banks are holding Iran’s money have been pressured by the US not to provide the country with access to its assets.

“History has not witnessed such a crime, as you may not find any other country that cannot withdraw money from foreign banks to purchase and import medicine for its people,” Rouhani said.

He, meantime, said that the Americans are angry with the Iranian government's appropriate management of the coronavirus outbreak despite the harshest-ever sanctions imposed on the country.