Following the World Health Organization (WHO)’s approval for the Covid-19 vaccine, governments prioritize purchasing this magical elixir to contain the health crisis. In the past week, thousands of people in different countries received vaccine shots, and media reported that many shipments of coronavirus vaccines have transferred to various regions across the globe.
Contrary to other countries, Iranian authorities refrained from purchasing vaccines ‘for the people,’ claiming, “There are various barriers for purchasing and importing the Covid-19 vaccine to the country.”
This is pursuant to the ayatollahs’ known excuse to blaming citizens and foreigners for all the country’s dilemmas. “The address of all troubles is the White House,” said President Hassan Rouhani during a cabinet meeting in September.
“The [Covid-19 ] vaccine’s payment is ready, there are will and order [to purchase the vaccine], but America is the obstacle,” Rouhani said on December 9.
Earlier on December 7, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Abdolnasser Hemmati had also claimed, “U.S. sanctions do not permit banking transactions for purchasing the vaccine from COVAX.”
In response, the spokesperson for Geneva-based Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, rejected Tehran’s top banker allegations. “There is no legal barrier to Iran procuring vaccines through COVAX as the U.S. Treasury’s Office on Foreign Assets Control had issued a license covering coronavirus vaccine procurement,” the spokesperson told media on December 7.
A few days later, an Iranian state-run paper unveiled the truth about officials’ baseless explanations. “Regarding the coronavirus vaccine, officials announced that importing foreign vaccines is impossible. However, we witness that coronavirus vaccines have been imported from credible countries and are used by officials, their children [Aghazadeh], and relatives,” Aftab-e Yazd daily wrote on December 14.
Notably, at the beginning of the pandemic in Iran and while officials argued the lack and shortage of kits for Covid-19 tests, in their political rivalries, some sources exposed that the government had imported and allocated 1,500 kits only to members of the Parliament (Majlis).
These facts declare that sanctions, U.S. policies, and banking transactions are just explanations to justify the government’s failures. The truth is that there are Covid-19 vaccines, and the government imports from credible companies but not ‘for the people and their health.’ The vaccines are for authorities, their relatives, and inner-cycle agents.
The State-Backed Medicine Mafia Uses Covid-19 as a Spoil
More harmfully, some influential individuals and entities sabotage are importing large dimensions of Coivd-19 vaccines to the country. These individuals and entities account for the state-backed medicine mafia in Iran, under the thumb of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
In fact, the mafia proposed to line its pockets with immense privileges of ‘domestic vaccines,’ while professionals say there is no forecast for Iran-made vaccines until the next summer.
“Iranian companies and institutions need time to reach tangible results in producing the coronavirus vaccine. During this period, we will once again be held back in the fight against Covid-19,” Mehr news agency quoted Abbas Aghazadeh, head of General Assembly of Iran’s Medical Apparatus Organization, as saying on December 7.
He also revealed how officials’ cultural, political, and ideological prejudices cost people’s lives. “When the lives of millions of Iranians are at stake, one cannot insist on cultural, political, and ideological competitions,” Aghazadeh added.
Furthermore, in its December 14 edition, Jahan-e Sanat daily shed lights on officials’ profiteering purposes to plunder needy and coronavirus-hit people. “Iran’s Food and Medicine Organization is under pressure to approve domestic vaccine and anti-coronavirus medicine because the Health Ministry’s approval means siphoning massive incomes for drug companies,” the daily wrote.
Though, who are—it is better to be said, ‘who is’—the owner of these companies? According to media and reliable evidence, the IRGC approximately owns all drug-maker and -distributer companies in Iran. These companies follow as:
– Barkat Pharmaceutical holding and its subordinated companies affiliated to Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), an IRGC’s close ally
– Iran Darou Company
– Drug-maker Tolid Darou Company
– Sobhan Oncology Company
– KBC Company (Import)
– Alborz Distribution Company (drug distribution)
– Etela-e Alborz Investment Company
– Alborz Balk Company
– Farabi Pharmacy
– Razak Pharmacy
– Ati Farmad Company
– Biosan Company
– Alborz-Zagros Company
– Ghadir Investment Company
– Darougar Holding affiliated to Bonyad-e Shahid [Martyr Foundation]
Therefore, Iranian officials’ claims like ‘sanctions,’ ‘U.S. prohibitions,’ and ‘not permissions for banking transactions’ are baseless pretenses to refuse to import standard vaccines and immunize the public. The government’s excuses are a flagrant confession to their ominous intentions for ensuring the state-backed mafia’s privileges at the expense of citizens’ lives and health.
Moreover, the Iranian government’s terrorism, human rights violations, and nuclear ambitions prompted the international community to impose and reimpose sanctions. The officials would not spend the country’s resources to contain the pandemic and did not consider any budget for purchasing Covid-19 vaccines in the 2021-22 budget bill.
Instead, they would gain a multi-million wealth windfall to cover their terrorist and nuclear bomb-making expenditures, as well as providing new equipment for the IRGC and the State Security Forces (SSF) to counter probable protests and upheavals.
“Even if the Covid-19 vaccine was produced [inside the country], it would face the barrier of ‘untransparent economy,’” said Keyhan Azadmanesh, chief of the Iranian vaccine-maker company, pointing out the state-backed medicine mafia. “This barrier prevents us from planning how much doses of medicine should be produced at what price?” he added.
The Outcome of the Government’s Delay and Refusal for Purchasing Covid-19 Vaccine
The profiteering policy applied by the government and IRGC-owned pharmacies practically claims more lives. According to the Iranian opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), as of December 16, at least 186,200 people have lost their lives to the coronavirus. The Health Ministry claims that the fatalities are around 52,883 cases, severely challenged by officials, professionals, and state-run media.
However, the government’s delay and refusal to purchase credible vaccines, as well as their untransparent measures, are a kind of playing with fire. Because the people “will undoubtedly protest” when they “witness the disease has quelled in many countries, including neighboring countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan,” due to the consumption of credible vaccines, according to health expert and member of the Covid-19 Task Force Dr. Mohammad Reza Mahboub-Far.
“If our neighboring countries carry out vaccination and we still remain waiting, the social resilience will finish, and it would appear in the form of street protests,” Dr. Mahboub-Far sounded alarms on December 12.