FILE PHOTO: A vial of the Pfizer vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) used at The Reservoir nursing facility is shown in West Hartford, Connecticut, U.S., December 18, 2020. Photograph:( Reuters )
Iran has officially banned all foreign companies from testing coronavirus vaccines on its people
Iran has officially banned all foreign companies from testing coronavirus vaccines on its people. This comes in a day after President Hassan Rouhani, Iran's Supreme Leader banned imports of vaccines from the United States and Britain.
"Foreign companies wanted to give us vaccines so they would be tested on the Iranian people. But the health ministry prevented it," Rouhani said in a televised appearance. Rouhani did not directly name the companies, and did not offer more details.
"Our people will not be a testing device for vaccine manufacturing companies," he added.
But this does not mean that the country is shunning foreign vaccines altogether. Rouhani added that the country intends to purchase safe foreign vaccines.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the country's highest authority on Friday said that the US and Britain were ''untrustworthy'', and wanted to spread the coronavirus infection to other countries.
Khamenei did add that the country is planning to obtain vaccines from other "reliable places", without naming any specific countries.
China and Russia, who are both producing indigenous vaccines are considered allies of Iran, which remains the hardest hit Middle Eastern country.
Khamenei made the same claims on Twitter, after which his post was removed by the company for violating the platform's rules against misinformation.
Last month, the country launched trials of its first local coronavirus vaccine candidate. The country claimed that this would help derail the virus, amid US sanctions that prevent the country from importing vaccines.
Since 2018, tensions between Iran and the US have heightened after Trump abandoned a nuclear deal from 2015, after which he reimposed sanctions on the country.