“It will be done,” President Rouhani said after what Iran identified as a campaign of “maximum pressure” from the United States.
Tehran, Iran – President Hassan Rouhani has defended his administration’s efforts to buy a COVID-19 vaccine, reassuring Iranians that the country will succeed despite pressure from the United States.
Iran has reported more than one million cases of the coronavirus, including at least 54,000 deaths, since February.
“Our people should know that we have problems, but those problems do not block our efforts. Something could end up more expensive, something could be done late, but it will be done, “Rouhani said on Saturday, adding that” anti-Iran “media was also trying to portray his administration’s vaccination efforts in a negative light. .
“Not only in vaccines, drugs and food, you won’t find an example where we want to buy something from outside the country and we don’t see the effects of cruelty and deceit from the States- United, ”he said, referring to what Iran identified as a campaign of“ maximum pressure ”of economic sanctions against Iran by the United States.
Rohani said Iran wanted to purchase vaccines as part of the global COVAX initiative using funds from its central bank in South Korea and received a permit from the US Bureau of Foreign Assets Control after much effort.
However, the US Treasury required that the funds first be transferred to a US bank before they could be transferred to Switzerland to complete the purchase.
“Wherever you found our money, you stole it. You are known to have stolen. How can we trust thieves? Said Rouhani.
In an interview on Friday, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, Abdolnaser Hemmati, said that Iran decided not to use its $ 7 billion in South Korea for fear of confiscation by the United States. .
The United States has confiscated or frozen billions of dollars in Iranian money held abroad in various countries through legal proceedings.
The funds were mainly used to compensate the families of the victims of the bombings that the United States claims to have orchestrated by Iran.
Hemmati added that the United States approved the transfer of money to a Swiss bank to pay for the vaccines but did not specify where the amount was transferred from.
He said Iran would pay 200 million euros ($ 246 million) for the initial imports of 16.8 million doses of the vaccine from COVAX, but is ready to pay more if needed. .
The discussion of coronavirus vaccines continued in Iran, with people taking to social media in recent days to demand the purchase.
The Farsi hashtag #BuyVaccines has hit the top of Farsi trends on Twitter several times over the past two weeks.
“#BuyVaccines. My mother has Alzheimer’s disease. She thinks that if no one is going to visit her, he doesn’t like her, ”one user tweeted.
“It is neither a security issue nor a political issue. Tell us how many vaccines in which country do you want to buy? Shiraz City Council representative Mehdi Hajati said in a tweet last week.
Iranian Red Crescent chief Karim Hemmati said on Saturday that Iran was trying to buy a vaccine from China.
“All vaccines and drugs imported into the country are subject to strict controls by the Food and Drug Administration,” he said.
Efforts to produce a local vaccine are also underway in Iran.
Last week, the Department of Health issued a public call for volunteers to test a locally made vaccine that has successfully concluded animal testing.
More than 27,000 Iranians have so far volunteered for the trial, an official said on Friday.