Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned Iran’s government on Friday from importing COVID-19 vaccines from the United States and Britain.
“Imports of U.S. and British vaccines into the country are forbidden. I have told this to officials and I’m saying it publicly now,” Khamenei said in a live televised speech.
“I have no confidence in them. Sometimes they want to test vaccines on other nations ... If the Americans were able to produce a vaccine, they would not have such a coronavirus fiasco in their own country.”
Iran, the country that has been worst hit by the novel coronavirus in the Middle East, launched human trials of its first domestic COVID-19 vaccine candidate late last month, saying it could help Iran defeat the pandemic despite U.S. sanctions that affect its ability to import vaccines.
However, Khamenei praised Iran’s efforts to develop domestic vaccines but said Iran could obtain vaccines “from other reliable places”. He gave no details but China and Russia are both allies of Iran.
“I’m not optimistic about France either because of their history of infected blood,” Khamenei said, referring to the country’s contaminated blood scandal of the 1980s and 1990s.