Islamic Republic of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday said he banned the government from importing COVID-19 vaccines from the United States and Britain.
“Imports of US and British vaccines into the country are prohibited. I have told this to officials and I’m saying it publicly now,” Khamenei said in a live televised speech.
Khamenei admired Iran’s efforts to develop domestic vaccines but added that Iran could obtain vaccines “from other reliable places”. He did not mention a specific country but both China and Russia are the top allies of Tehran.
“I have no confidence in them (Americans). Sometimes they want to test vaccines on other nations ... If the Americans were able to produce a vaccine, they would not have such a coronavirus disaster in their own country.”
Iran is among the countries that has been worst hit by the novel coronavirus in the Middle East.
Iranian government launched human trials of its first domestic COVID-19 vaccine candidate late last month.