President Hassan Rouhani says Iran cannot trust Americans when it comes to the transfer of money to purchase coronavirus vaccines as they are notorious for “stealing” Iran’s funds.
In comments on Saturday, President Rouhani said Tehran has been making efforts to buy the vaccines through COVAX, a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines.
“We provided the money needed to buy vaccines, but they said first we needed the approval of OFAC (The Office of Foreign Assets Control – a financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the US Treasury Department) to make the payment. Then we tried to transfer the money through another country. Again, they said the money must first be transferred to an American bank,” said the president.
“How can we trust you (the US) when you are infamous for theft,” he said, referring to previous cases of US seizure of Iranian assets.
“The Americans hampered our efforts not only with regards to the purchase of vaccines. We can see traces of the United States’ wickedness with regards to anything we want to buy,” he said.
He then criticized media campaigns regarding Iran’s efforts to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Anti-Iran media outlets, which happen to be so cheeky, capitalize on an issue every day and use it as a pretext [to launch a campaign against Iran],” he noted.
“This time, they are using the issue of the coronavirus vaccine as an excuse and are taking advantage of the issue of purchasing foreign vaccines, the transfer of money and the production of a vaccine inside Iran,” the president.
“Since the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, one of the key issues in question was to provide a vaccine for the disease. All efforts in the country focused on a two-pronged approach: making attempts to develop a vaccine domestically while trying to buy safe foreign vaccines,” he noted.
He said all media campaigns regarding the issue of the coronavirus vaccine in Iran were false.