Coronavirus deaths in Iran have now reached over 200,000, according to reports tallied by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), who advise that the regime’s “inhumane” policies are destroying people’s lives.
“Iran’s Covid-19 outbreak turned into a major humanitarian catastrophe due to the regime’s systematic cover-up and inaction. Now, as countries prepare to push the virus back using credible vaccines, the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei publicly banned American and British vaccines’ entry to Iran,” dissidents wrote.
In fact, Khamenei has actually said that he “ordered” authorities not to import the vaccine, even though he publicly blamed international sanctions, despite the U.S. Treasury’s Office on Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the vaccine distribution agent COVAX saying that sanctions did not stop the vaccine import.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei deprives the Iranian people of #CovidVaccine, posing more lives at risk.
"The import of U.S. or British vaccine into Iran is forbidden"—Khamenei
According to @Mojahedineng, #COVID19 has claimed nearly 200,000 citizens' lives, millions more are at risk. pic.twitter.com/hzI1PHNdxt
— IranNewsUpdate (@IranNewsUpdate1) January 8, 2021
Nasser Riahi, the head of the Iranian Drug Importers’ Union, admitted in December that there was no issue with buying the vaccine or any other medicine. Even President Hassan Rouhani admitted on Saturday that the regime could have imported vaccines sooner, as they were offered them by the manufacturers, but refused.
The MEK said that this proves that the regime wanted to use the coronavirus to oppress the Iranian people, something that Khamenei made clear in March 2020, when he described it as a ‘test,’ ‘opportunity,’ and ‘divine blessing.’ They say that the regime is making up all sorts of excuses but that the truth is that they are just trying to buy more time and allowing more to die.
Khamenei dismisses #CoronaVirus as "not that big a deal", even calls it a "blessing". Iranians should pray against the virus "as prayer can solve many problems"
Meanwhile the opposition MEK confirms 1000+ #COVID19 deaths in Iran
— M. Hanif Jazayeri (@HanifJazayeri) March 3, 2020
The refusal to import vaccines was condemned around the world, with Amnesty International researcher Mansoureh Mills, saying that it was “in step with the authorities’ decades-long contempt for human rights, including the right to life and health.”
تصمیم رهبر جمهوری اسلامی برای ممنوع کردن دسترسی میلیونها نفر از مردم ایران به واکسنهای حیاتی آمریکایی و انگلیسی کرونا نادیده انگاشتن حق حیات و حق سلامت است. رهبر در حال بازی با جان میلیونها انسان است. مقامات باید به این بیاعتنایی شرمآور به تعهدات حقوق بشری پایان دهند. pic.twitter.com/SSheVY8UY8
— Amnesty Iran (@AmnestyIran) January 9, 2021
“Officials have said that it is not possible to import foreign vaccines, but we are witnessing that vaccines have been imported from reliable countries and are being used by officials, along with their children and associates,” the state-run Aftab-e Yazd newspaper wrote.
The regime claims to be developing a domestic vaccine, which 167 Iranian pharmacists labeled a ‘joke,’ but it is under the control of Khamenei’s financial institution and even the state-run media are saying that this will make him a huge profit.
The regime not only lied about the virus at the start and have continued to cover it up, but also used it to suppress popular protests, caring more about hanging onto power than the lives of Iranians. This has increased people’s hatred of the regime and should spark international condemnation.