Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Friday banned Iran from importing American Pfizer-BioNTech and Britain’s Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccines, a reflection of mistrust toward the West.
In a televised speech, he said the import of American and British vaccines was “forbidden,” referring to the surging death tolls from the virus in both countries.
”I really do not trust them,” Khamenei said of those nations. “Sometimes they want to test” their vaccines on other countries, adding, “I am not optimistic (about) France,” either.
Iran has struggled to stem the worst virus outbreak in the Middle East.
Khamenei’s statement reflects decades of tense relations between Iran and the West which have not abated in the waning days of US President Donald Trump’s presidency. Concerns ran especially high in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 3 one-year anniversary of the US killing of a top Iranian general in Iraq.