When the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader announced a ban on vaccines, he did not think of the negative reactions even among his officials. In a January 8 televised speech, Ali Khamenei banned the import of US and UK vaccines because they were “untrustworthy”.
The regime’s Supreme Leader accused the US and UK of wanting to “test their vaccines on other nations” even while millions of people around the world, including the heads of states, have injected the vaccines.
Except for a few regime elites who supported his decision, most physicians and specialists challenged his judgement. In addition to ordinary Iranians who lashed out against Iran’s dictator for jeopardizing the health of 80 million Iranians, Iran’s state-run media, under the pressure of the public opinion, are also starting to challenge the ban.
This came after four heads of the Medical Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran wrote a letter implying that Ali Khamenei was politicizing the COVID-19 vaccine.
Delay in vaccination to incur public anger
The state-run Jahan-e-Sanat daily wrote on January 13 that public unhappiness from lack of vaccination could turn into public anger.
“Iranians want vaccination to start soon so they can return to their normal lives… When they hear that several neighboring countries such as Turkey, UAE, and Saudi Arabia and other countries including China and Russia, who say they are Iran’s friends, have started vaccination but not their own country, they become unhappy. A delay (in vaccination) will make them even more unhappy and this sorrow will turn into anger,” the daily wrote.
No such thing as an “Iranian vaccine”
In an interview with an epidemiologist and university professor, Hamdeli state-run daily also challenged the regime’s claims that Iran was producing an Iranian vaccine. Iran officials have announced that this vaccine was their main candidate for vaccination while Khamenei endorsed it and called it “the country’s pride”.
“We still do not have such a thing as an Iranian vaccine,” Masoud Younesian told the daily adding that Iran was still in the initial research phase of the vaccine and that it was to soon to say whether “the results were good or bad”.
“We need the vaccine today. If there is a vaccine today that we can buy and save the lives of the elderly, those who have underlying illnesses and healthcare workers and we do not do this or delay this, we have made a grave mistake”, the epidemiologist added.
Herd immunity theory hindrance to timely vaccination
The Khamenei affiliated Resalat daily criticized Rouhani’s government for their herd immunity theory. “We know the best way to control this virus is vaccination,” an ICU specialist at Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari hospital told the daily.
“The theory of herd immunity has not been proven yet. This theory has caused the delay in vaccination,” he said.
More and more voices demanding timely vaccination are coming from inside Iran. The loudest voices are from ordinary Iranians who will blame Khamenei for every COVID-19 death from now on. Will this have Iran’s dictator rethinking his decision on the vaccine ban which has effectively condemned millions of Iranians to death?