EghtesadOnline: The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran says importing the Covid-19 vaccine is more complicated than procuring other medical needs.
Abdolnasser Hemmati said the problem is largely about the method of payment, which is easier for buying pharmaceuticals.
"Paying for the coronavirus vaccine has its own difficulties. [Unlike other medicine], there are not many vaccine producers," he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.
"If we insist on buying from a reliable company payment has to be via specific channels that the US sanctions do not allow and need permit from the Americans," the senior banker said, noting that such restrictions do not always apply to importing normal pharmaceuticals.
He was apparently responding to this week's statements by Nasser Riahi, a member of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (TCCIMA), who denied that there is currency transfer difficulty for importing medicine and medical equipment.
In a talk with Sepid, a Persian-language medical news outlet, Riahi said "we meet for our import needs in several ways, even from European, Indian and American pharma companies." He did not elaborate.
Hemmati said the CBI will “do all it can” to buy medicine and medical equipment, recalling that the bank had allocated $2.7 billion for this purpose.
The United States is obstructing payment for vaccine purchase and is involved in increasing the cost for medical companies wanting to supply medicine to Iran.
Last week he said the US was lying when it says humanitarian trade (food and medicine) is exempt from Donald Trump’s economic blockade against Iran.
Tehran’s efforts to get funds from international lenders to fight the deadly virus have been wrecked due to Trump’s unending belligerence and the CBI so far has been unable to unlock assets in countries like India, South Korea, Iraq and Japan among others.
Health officials in Tehran said talks are underway with four vaccine manufacturing countries to pre-order 21 million doses to try and control the rapid spread of the infectious disease.
Kianoush Jahanpour, spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration, said Tuesday it is in talks with four manufacturing companies that are awaiting regulatory approval to begin vaccine rollout, IRNA reported.
“If the talks produce the desire results and the FDA approves the vaccine it will be used. Endorsement by credible international organizations will indeed influence FDA’s decision.”