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Minister Blasts US for Impeding Iran’s Supply of Flu Vaccine, Medical Equipment

 Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki said that the US has since the very first days of the coronavirus outbreak attempted to trouble Iran’s efforts to supply flu vaccine and medical equipment.

“On the first days of the coronavirus outbreak, we imported masks and gowns but they (the Americans) did not allow us (at the foreign countries’ airports) or when we wanted to import flu vaccines from France, the US stopped our cargo at Spain’s airport and didn’t allow us to import the supply,” Namaki said on Saturday.

He underlined Iran’s effective efforts to provide necessary equipment for the coronavirus patients and the medical staff, and said, “We could produce Favipiravir and Remdesivir in the country within 2 months, produce (N95) masks within 56 days and even could export them.”

Namaki said that the Iranian scientists have also taken long strides in the production of coronavirus vaccine, and said, “The world has admitted that Iran is one of the pioneering states in the production of vaccine.”

In relevant remarks on Wednesday, UN Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures and Human Rights Alena Douhan warned of the impacts of the US unilateral sanctions against Iran, saying that the companies which tried to export ventilators for coronavirus patients to Iran have been sanctioned by Washington.

“The US has put the name of companies which were trying to send ventilators to Iran on its sanctions list,” Douhan said, addressing a virtual conference in Vienna, also attended by Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Kazzem Qaribabadi.

“Due to sanctions, the World Bank aid to Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and Sudan has been suspended. In addition, the US sanctioned 18 Iranian banks in October, barring medical supplies, specially the vital medicine needed by diabetics across the country, from European companies,” she added.

“Access to medical know-how and science is also affected by sanctions, and Iranian physicians are unable to access scientific content on the internet. Unilateral sanctions have made the Coronavirus epidemic much worse and more catastrophic,” Douhan warned.

Earlier, the Iranian foreign ministry had declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), former Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.

Also in September, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blasted the US administration for blocking the country’s efforts to receive loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fight against coronavirus, saying that the American officials have forgotten humanity.

“We demanded the IMF for $5bln to assist us during the coronavirus outbreak for vaccine and medicine; all parties have voiced their agreement, but the US does not allow us to take the loan. They have distanced themselves from humanity to such an extent,” Rouhani said.

He added that even the friendly states whose banks are holding Iran’s money have been pressured by the US not to provide the country with access to its assets.

“History has not witnessed such a crime, as you may not find any other country that cannot withdraw money from foreign banks to purchase and import medicine for its people,” Rouhani said.

He, meantime, said that the Americans are angry with the Iranian government’s appropriate management of the coronavirus outbreak despite the harshest-ever sanctions imposed on the country.

The Iranian health ministry announced on Saturday that 12,151 new cases of coronavirus infection have been identified across the country during the past 24 hours, adding that 321 patients have passed away during the same period.

“12,151 new patients infected with COVID-19 have been identified in the country based on confirmed diagnosis criteria during the past 24 hours,” Iranian Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Saturday, and added, “1,562 patients have been hospitalized during the same time span.”

She added that the total number of COVID-19 patients has increased to 1,028,986.

“Unfortunately, 321 patients have lost their lives in the past 24 hours, increasing the number of the dead to 50,016,” the spokeswoman noted.

Lari expressed satisfaction that 719,708 coronavirus patients have recovered or been discharged from hospitals so far.

The spokeswoman further said that 5,817 cases infected with COVID-19 are in critical conditions.

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