In the space of a few hours, the chief of Iran’s Red Crescent organization retracted his remarks about importing 150,000 doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines.
Following the Iranian people’s demands for purchasing credible Covid-19 vaccines, authorities in Iran finally retracted their baseless claims about domestic vaccines. Previously, the government was resisting to provide foreign vaccines under strange pretenses. However, public hatred against the ayatollahs’ mismanagement, which has led to at least one coronavirus death in each Iranian family, drove them to purchase limited doses from credible companies.
Iranian Deputy Health Minister admits to deep public distrust about the domestic #COVID19Vaccine and society's reliance on MEK's contents.
"If we inject the domestic #Coronavirusvaccine into ourselves, they again say, Officials had injected U.S. vaccines or water"—Iraj Harirchi pic.twitter.com/IXK6k3GkHx
— IranNewsUpdate (@IranNewsUpdate1) December 29, 2020
The Iranian government claimed time and again that U.S. sanctions have prohibited the country from medicine and food. U.S. officials constantly reject the claims by the ayatollahs’ lobby, pointing out that the Iranian government has denied the entry of U.S. humanitarian aid to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, on December 27, the chief of Iran’s Red Crescent organization Karim Hemmati announced that the government had purchased 150,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer company. “Some 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be imported to Iran by January 19,” he said.
“Based on arrangements made by a number of charity entities in the U.S.,” these vaccines will be “placed at the Red Crescent’s disposal,” according to Tasnim news agency, affiliated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force.
However, a few hours later, Hemmati once again appeared on the stage to say the number of doses is 15,000 alone. This is not the Iranian people’s first experience, and they are familiar with such sudden changes.
How Gold Turned into Cooper, Then Smoke!
For instance, in the summer of 1989, the local gendarmery in Fars province reported that it has discovered and impounded several trucks loaded with ten tons of gold bars. The report added that the trucks had driven out the cargo from the country. However, the next day, the gendarmery withdrew its earlier claim, announcing, “The cargo had consisted of copper, not gold.”
Furthermore, the gendarmery did not add any information about the ‘cooper cargo’ owners and where it ended up. Indeed, no one can steal, load, and export ten tons of copper, iron, or even tin in a war-torn country in which the IRGC has conquered all mines, forests, ports, and other national resources and strategic bottlenecks for military interests.
In October 2008, a Turkish TV Channel reported that Iranian national Esmail Saffarian-Nasab had imported 20 tons of gold and $500 million cash to Turkey. However, a high-ranking Turkish official Hayati Yazchi rejected the news, and there is no more information about this amount of gold and money.
Why Iranian Officials Behave Hypocritically?
Since day one of the novel coronavirus’s entry in Iran, the government concealed the truth and kept citizens in the dark. While several people were infected with the virus and hospitalized in the holy city of Qom, west of Tehran, officials rudely rejected news about Covid-19 in Iran.
In February 2020, officials persisted in holding pro-government ceremonies and processions marking the 41st anniversary of the Islamic Republic’s establishment by the first Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini. Afterward, the government still hid the news about the coronavirus outbreak in Iran to hold the February 21 Parliamentary elections.
In reality, the ayatollahs tried to portray both events as a sign of power and public support, particularly after two nationwide protests in November 2019 and January 2020. However, the pro-government show-offs were met with unprecedented apathy by citizens. The events also accelerated the contagion’s spread, especially among the ayatollahs’ loyalists who had attended the processions and elections.
On the other hand, in the past eleven months, health professionals repeatedly challenged the Health Ministry’s statistics of new cases and fatalities. In April, Dr. Mohammad Reza Mahboub-Far, member of the National Covid-19 Task Force, declared that the “actual number of Covid-19 mortalities is twenty times the official death toll.”
The Iranian opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI) also provides reports and statistics that are seemingly closer to reality. “Over 194,400 people have died of the novel coronavirus in 478 cities checkered across all of Iran’s 31 provinces, according to reports tallied by the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) as of Monday afternoon local time,” the MEK/PMOI official website reported on December 28.
How 150,000 Doses of Vaccines Became 15,000 Doses?
Nonetheless, Iranian officials still confuse the people about purchasing Covid-19 vaccines by contradictory comments. For weeks, officials were justifying their delay in procuring vaccines by explanations such as U.S. sanctions, dilemmas in banking transactions, lack of money and budget, and reliance on the domestic vaccine—which is forecasted not to be produced before June 2021, according to a member of the Parliament (Majlis) Health Commission Mohammad Ali Mohseni Bandpey on December 28.
He also revealed that President Hassan Rouhani’s government did not include any clause for procuring and importing Covid-19 vaccines in the country’s 2021 budget bill. “The 2021 budget bill has no specific clause for importing Covid-19 vaccine… At the fastest pace, the human test sample will be ready around June 20, 2021,” Mohseni said in an interview with Khabar Online website.
However, the main reason for returning 150,000 to 15,000 doses is the government’s urgency to immunize the ayatollahs and their relatives against the deadly virus. In this context, the government prioritizes the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei‘s Office, relatives, and inner circle individuals. Also, the Rouhani cabinet, the Majlis, the Expediency Council, the Guardian Council, IRGC commanders, and Khamenei’s mouthpieces and advocates across all of Iran’s provinces and cities.
In this regard, a paper had previously unveiled that the government had purchased and distributed considerable doses of credible Covid-19 for officials. “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.