Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi says the Islamic Republic is determined to boost relations with Russia in all fields, including in the production of a joint vaccine to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
“We are pursuing the development and deepening of cooperation between the two countries in all dimensions,” Raeisi said in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
The president also stressed the importance of continued cooperation between Tehran and Moscow on exploring ways to contain the coronavirus outbreak, including the production of a joint vaccine.
“This cooperation should continue strongly until the complete eradication of this global disease,” the Iranian chief executive said.
Late in June, Iranian pharmaceutical company Actover produced a test batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund said Iran is the first country in the Middle East to produce the vaccine against COVID-19, adding it will help accelerate vaccinations.
Iran reached an agreement with Russia late last year to take delivery of tens of millions of Sputnik V vaccines to use them in its national inoculation program against the coronavirus.
Iran has been fighting back against a harsh COVID-19 outbreak, with draconian US sanctions hampering the country’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus and provide vaccines from other countries.
President Raeisi was expected to meet Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit to be held this week in Tajikistan. But the Kremlin said Tuesday that Putin will attend the summit via videoconference following the identification of fresh COVID-19 cases in his inner circle.
The Russian president told his Iranian counterpart that he had isolated himself for now, but called for coordination between the two sides to facilitate a meeting between them “at the earliest possible.”
The Russian president also urged the continuation of cooperation on the joint production of a vaccine.