Ayatollah: Iran in no hurry to see United States return to nuclear deal
Jan 10 2021
Tensions have grown between Tehran and Washington since 2018, when US President Donald Trump exited the deal between Iran and six world powers - which sought to limit Tehran's nuclear program and prevent it developing atomic weapons - and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.
Iran remains the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East.
He further gave an assurance that the administration has been doing its utmost to produce the coronavirus vaccine inside the country and purchase the reliable vaccines from overseas.
Hardliners in Iran have longed opposed the U.S-made vaccines.
Iran's supreme leader said Friday that he had banned the import of US and British-made coronavirus vaccines, a surprise move that contradicts his own government's recent efforts to ensure the country's access to safe and effective immunizations.
Mr. Khamenei's edict bans imports of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford anti-Covid 19 jabs. "Sometimes they want to test" their vaccines on other countries, adding, "I am not optimistic (about) France", either. State media has also reported that Iran will eventually receive one million vaccine doses from China.
Khamenei added that he does not trust the French vaccine either, due to France's infected blood scandal in the 1980s and 1990s. Concerns ran especially high in the weeks leading up to the January 3 one-year anniversary of the USA killing of a top Iranian general in Iraq.
Later, the governor, Abdolnasser Hemmati, told Iranian state television that he had received approval to transfer a $244 million payment through an unnamed bank in a "third country" for 17 million vaccine doses from COVAX, the Associated Press reported. He instead called for a lifting of sanctions by saying they're a crime against Iran.
Iran is struggling to contain its Covid-19 outbreak which has so far infected almost 1.3 million people and killed almost 56,000.
Iran has several other vaccine candidates, Khomeini said, though none are expected to clear animal trials before the end of February.
Iran has been the worst hit by the pandemic among regional countries.
Khamenei claimed in a televised address Friday that "if the Americans were able to produce" a trustworthy vaccine, "the coronavirus catastrophe wouldn't have happened in their country". Soleimani led Iran's terrorism efforts in the Middle East and has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers.