He made the remarks during a meeting of the national task force for fighting the coronavirus in Tehran on Saturday, days after Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei advised the Iranian nation and officials to focus on neutralizing the sanctions instead of trying to secure their removal.
“The Leader called for rendering sanctions ineffective; we are doing this not on an hourly basis, but moment by moment during the process of exporting and buying goods from abroad.”
Iran has been under a series of sanctions imposed by the US since 2018, when President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The US unleashed the so-called maximum pressure campaign and targeted the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” restrictive measures.
In recent months, Washington has been tightening its oppressive sanctions against the Islamic Republic, defying warnings from Tehran and international human rights organizations that the restrictions are severely hampering the Iranian health sector’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Elsewhere in his comments, Rouhani said Iran is seeking to produce a domestic vaccine against the outbreak, while at the same time trying to buy a foreign vaccine.
“Definitely, the Americans made a dent in this path. We see the effects of American malice and depravity not only regarding the purchase of vaccines, but anything that we want to buy and import,” he added.
The Iranian president also highlighted Iran’s efforts to buy the COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, a multiagency group dedicated to assuring fair access to vaccines for low- and middle-income countries.
“We have prepared the required funds to buy [the vaccines], but they said that for the payment, [the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control] OFAC must first agree to the transfer of money from another country. They once again announced that the money must first be transferred to an American bank. How can we trust you when you are known for theft?” he asked.
Rouhani further assured that the Iranian government has taken necessary measures to provide funds for the purchase and transfer of the COVID-19 vaccines, saying, “Wherever there is a trusted vaccine, we will surely provide it, and in this regard we have the means for both transfer and maintenance.”
The Health Ministry will not allow the Iranians to be used for the testing of an invalid vaccine, he stressed.
Although the sanctions have hampered the import of everything to the country, including medicine and vaccines, “We will definitely overcome the problem and make the sanctions ineffective,” Rouhani reiterated.
Over the past months, Iran has managed to reign in the coronavirus pandemic to a reasonable extent thanks to strict restrictions.
So far, 1,189,203 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Iran and 54,440 people have died.