Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei’s decision to ban the import of a valid internationally approved vaccine into Iran is so irrational and inhumane that the officials of his government, although ostensibly endorsing it by publishing articles and discussions about the “harms” of the vaccine, but in the face of the stark reality of public and national demand for vaccines and the fear of popular uprisings, push reports about the arrival of vaccines in Iran, which, of course, is dripping in scale.
The question is why do the regime’s leaders oppose vaccines and vaccinations. They include Khamenei, who issued a ban on the valid vaccine to Iran, and President Hassan Rouhani, who raises doubts every day about the effectiveness of the vaccine?
Rouhani is trying to scare people away from the coronavirus vaccine, while he told at a recent anti-coronavirus headquarters meeting:
“There are people in the world who avoid vaccines at all and are afraid of them. They are afraid of getting vaccinated, the effects of vaccines are still not very clear to us.” (State TV, News Channel, February 27)
This statement is also in conflict with the opinion of experts and doctors in the government. Massoud Mardani, a member of the government’s coronavirus taskforce, said about the effectiveness of the vaccine:
“Many countries are moving hard to vaccinate people. So, the vaccine is really effective.” (State TV, Channel Two, February 24)
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In a harmonic chore, the regime’s Friday prayers leaders started an anti-vaccine show in their sermons, while expressing fear of revelations in cyberspace about Khamenei’s fatwa banning the vaccine.
Clergyman Tabatabai-Nejad said in Isfahan: “Now they all want to say why we did not get the vaccine from the United States. Some are angry about why the Supreme Leader issued that very brave and great order.” (Esfahan state TV, February 26)
Mullah Dejkam, the Friday prayers Imam of Shiraz, also said: “You see, they created an atmosphere. Unfortunately, cyberspace sometimes rules everything, which is dangerous.” (Shiraz state TV, February 26)
Meanwhile, Faezeh Rafsanjani said, ‘In my opinion, since the vaccine was discovered, if someone in the country dies from coronation, it will be a kind of premeditated murder committed by the rulers.’
The Hamdeli newspaper warned of the government’s reluctance to vaccinate the people, citing public hatred and wrote: “We can no longer advise people that some of Iran’s neighbors have vaccinated more than 40 percent of their population. You also have to consider the tolerance of society, and people may not be able to tolerate such a situation.” (State-run daily Hamdeli, February 27)
Regarding not supporting the people against the coronavirus, a government official in the Etemad newspaper on March 1, blamed the regime and wrote:
“Of course, in this case, the government is responsible for this weakness in support and comparing it with other countries, especially countries that had much better support, created a bad negative feeling in the minds of citizens. It had to take steps to get the vaccine.
“One of the best ways to achieve this goal was to participate in the third phase of testing foreign vaccines, which unfortunately is not clear why Iran refused to do so, and the reasons given by the relevant officials are completely unwarranted, when they said that they will not serve Iranian people for the testing of other people’s vaccines, or they said that the countries manufactured the vaccine did not want to guarantee health or possible damage, and these are nonsense words. It is unfortunate for a country of 80 million people that only 250,000 doses of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine are to enter the country after a long time.”
Nahid Khodakarami, a member of the Tehran City Council, also said: “All experts shout that vaccine is the only way to get rid of the coronavirus epidemic, but expensive Russian vaccines are being bought drop by drop.” (State-run daily Hamdeli, February 27)
Deliberate inaction in not vaccinating people, and in pursuing a drip policy in this regard, comes at a time when a new wave of coronavirus and its mutated version has spread to many parts of the country.
In this regard, Alireza Raisi, the spokesman of the government’s coronavirus taskforce, said:
Another fact is that this virus is no longer limited to Khuzestan province. We have reported this virus in at least 16 provinces of the country so far, and so far, we have detected 187 cases of viruses from different provinces, and this is the last statistic I can tell you, and we have had 20 deaths so far due to the mutated virus.” (State TV, Channel One, February 27)
According to the theocracy’s opponents, the reason for the opposition of the leaders to vaccines and vaccinations is nothing more than their fear of the uprising of the people. It is Iran’s leaders, not the people, who are afraid of the vaccine.