May 28 – June 4, 2021:

The National Coronavirus Taskforce has sought to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Iran through one week of restrictions and a travel ban. But the latter only applies to private vehicles moving between provinces, meaning that would-be travellers have inevitably been mobbing bus terminals instead.

Meanwhile, Iran’s vaccination campaign in Iran is still progressing too slowly. According to official statistics, a little over 4.5 million doses of vaccine have been administered and just 532,929 people – less than one percent of the population – have received the second shot. Long waits for the second jab have prompted some people to protest at health centers, demanding to know what is causing the delay.

In many provinces the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations and fatalities has been on the decline. But in southern and eastern regions, there have been more new cases of infection with the variant first detected in India (now called “Delta” by the World Health Organization) and in South Africa (dubbed “Beta”). As a result, the number of Iranian cities on red alert has doubled in two weeks.

Inter-Province Travel Ban

Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5 are national holidays in the Islamic Republic that respectively mark the death of Ayatollah Khomeini and the 1963 demonstrations by his supporters in protest against his arrest under the Shah. To prevent the spread of coronavirus, this year an inter-state travel ban was declared from Wednesday, June 2, to Monday, June 7.

The National Coronavirus Taskforce has also announced that unauthorized vehicles that enter cities on red alert would be fined one million tomans (US $230). The fine for entering cities on orange or yellow alert is 500,000 tomans ($115). Of course, cars with local license plates can enter their own cities from anywhere and do not have to pay a fine.

Because of the restrictions, news websites report that travellers in Tehran have instead crowded into bus terminals, while taxis are charging people two or three times the usual fare to get them to the terminals. Bus companies have also hiked ticket prices. For a ticket from Tehran to Isfahan, passengers are currently being charged 600,000 tomans ($138) instead of the usual 230,000 ($53).

Strangely, the National Coronavirus Taskforce has not banned inter-city travel on public transport, despite this seeming to be the obvious way forward.

Vaccinations: Blame the Suppliers

On June 2, the eighth shipment of Russian Sputnik V vaccine was delivered to the Iranian embassy’s representative in Moscow to be airlifted to Iran. According to the latest figures, as of now Iran has imported 5.6 million doses of vaccine.

Some time ago, President Rouhani vowed that Iran would have imported nine million doses by late May. This promise was not fulfilled. Officials in the Islamic Republic have routinely blamed countries that supply the vaccines for allegedly not keeping their word.

On Monday, May 31, Sadegh Tabrizi, director of Health Ministry’s Office for Health Affairs, repeated the same claim, and promised that by late June people would begin to receive the domestically-produced CovIran-Barekat vaccine, and the new vaccine Iran’s Pasteur Institute is jointly developing with Cuba, instead.

Three months ago President Rouhani also ordered the government to “facilitate” the participation of the private sector in importing coronavirus vaccines. Last week, this directive was implemented at long last. On May 31, Naser Riahi, president of the Iranian Drug Importers Union, announced that the private sector was going to import one million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and three million doses of the Chinese-made Sinopharm. He added that the contract to buy AstraZeneca had already been signed.

As of now, 4,568,317 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Iran. Some 4,035,388 people have received their first shot but only 532,929 have had both doses. Delays in the administration of second doses has worried a lot of people, with reports of confrontations at health centers over the delay.

On June 3, the Health Ministry’s public relations office announced that those who qualify for a second dose would be notified on the ministry’s website and through text messages. The announcement asked people to stop going to medical centers to ask about the second dose and assured them that a few weeks’ delay would not affect the efficacy of the vaccine.

Vaccine’s “Magnetic” Side Effects?

Rumors have sprouted on Iranian social media that Covid-19 vaccines can make recipients magnetic at the site of injection. The claim was made in a series of viral videos claiming to show magnets being attracted to the arms of alleged jab recipients. Several clips presented this as proof that people were being covertly microchipped.

This claim has since found its way into Persian-language posts on social media as well. Finally, on May 3, Dr. Atefeh Abedini, chairwoman of the National Covid-19 Scientific Committee, rejected the claims outright and insisted that coronavirus vaccines do not produce such side effects. She added that sometimes metal objects do stick to a person’s skin because the skin is damp or sticky, but it has nothing to do with vaccines and the idea had no scientific basis.

Increase in Cases of Measles

According to latest official statistics, 24 cases of measles were identified across Iran as of May 28 whereas last year only three cases of this disease were recorded in the country. The reason, according to health experts, that the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the process of vaccination against other contagious diseases.

Dr. Mohsen Zahraei, head of Health Ministry’s Office for Preventable Diseases, attributed the increase in measles cases to the fact that health workers are overwhelmed with fighting against Covid-19 pandemic and the anti-vaxxers have been turning people against any kind of vaccination. He pleaded with people to make appointments to inoculate their children against measles.

In the last few months, provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan, Razavi Khorasan, Hormozgan and Alborz have witnessed increases in number of measles cases.

The “Serious” Spread of Coronavirus Variant in Western and Eastern Iran

Most Iranian provinces have seen a drop in coronavirus-related hospitalizations and fatalities in recent weeks after the fourth wave subsided. But SARS-CoV-2 variants have kept both Sistan and Baluchistan and Hormozgan provinces on a red state of alert.

The National Coronavirus Taskforce has announced that the Delta variant first detected in India now poses a serious threat to eastern and southern Iran. Alireza Raeesi, the taskforce’s spokesman, said that besides these two provinces, Bushehr, Kerman and even the western province of Kermanshah are also being affected this variant. The Beta variant first detected in South Africa is also lurking in these provinces.

Official Coronavirus Statistics

According to official statistics announced daily by the health ministry, a total of 1,274 patients lost their lives to Covid-19 in the week ending June 3. With 217 officially-recorded deaths, May 31 had the highest number of known fatalities in the week.

At the week’s end, 3,924 Covid-19 patients were being treated in ICUs while Iran's official death toll from Covid-19 since the pandemic began drew closer to 90,000: likely still far shy of the real total.

At the week’s end the health ministry announced that currently 16 Iranian cities are on red alert, 201 are orange and 231 are yellow. No city in Iran is currently on blue alert.

June 4 – June 10:

“Until further notice, we have no coronavirus vaccines”.

This notice pinned to doors has greeted visitors to many vaccination centers in Iran over the past week. Elderly people aged over 70 are supposed to be receiving their second jab now, but countless patients have been turned away. This is deeply worrying because of the time-frame in which the second shot should be administered in order that the first be effective.  

The public response of Iran’s top health officials has only exacerbated people’s concerns. The Health Ministry had previously claimed that a few weeks’ delay, or even a month, would not adversely affect the efficacy of the vaccine. No-one was convinced by this, and now to make matter worse, the Health Ministry has taken the unprecedented step of “mitigating” the crisis by mixing and matching imported vaccines with domestically-made ones.

Chinese and Russian “Brothers” Broke Their Promises

On May 8, President Rouhani promised that Iran would have imported eight million doses of Covid-19 vaccine by late May. This encouraged the Health Ministry to use up the remaining available doses as quickly as possible and, by June 10, of the six million available doses some 4,289,395 had been administered as first jabs. Now, as a consequence, health centers in many provinces including Tehran, Khuzestan, Markazi, Qom and Fars announced that they have no supplementary doses left.

On Tuesday, June 8, Hossein Kermanpour, the director of public relations for Iran’s Medical Council, blamed Iran’s “Chinese brothers” for reneging on their promise to deliver eight million doses of Sinopharm to the country. He said this was the reason patients who received Sinopharm the first time round were now being left in limbo.

Meanwhile Alireza Naji, head of Iran’s Virology Research Center and a member of the National Coronavirus Taskforce’s scientific committee, said it was not just Chinese but also Russian manufacturers that were to blame. Of the around six million doses of vaccine imported by Iran so far, just 920,000 were the Russian-made Sputnik V.

The Importance of the Interval Between Doses

Depending on the make of vaccine and government guidance, the suggested interval between doses starts at 21 days and can run to up to 11 weeks. In the case of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, the generally-accepted interval is no longer than 42 days because of its comparatively lower efficacy rate. If this holds, it would render it useless to most Iranians who have received their first dose of Sinopharm so far.

Dr. Minoo Mohraz, another member of the National Coronavirus Taskforce’s scientific committee, said on June 8 that if for any reason the second dose was not administered after four weeks, the patient would have to begin their vaccination course all over again.

Kazem, a doctor of pharmacology who works for one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in Iran, told IranWire: “The interval is of the utmost importance and depends on the manufacturer. If their [recommended] interval is one month, then the second dose must be injected no later than a month.

“The vaccine increases the level of antibodies [in the body]. But if the doses are taken too far apart, the body’s immune system ‘forgets’ about the previous injection.” The wider the gap, he emphasized, the less effective it would be.

Get a “Domestic” Second Dose

With Iran’s domestic vaccination drive having now practically ground to a halt, the Health Ministry has begun instructing people to take a second dose of Iranian-made vaccine instead of the expected imported one.

On June 19, Mostafa Ghanei, chairman of the National Coronavirus Taskforce’s scientific committee, asked people who had already received Sinopharm to accept the domestic CovIran-Barekat vaccine for their second shot. Those who received Sputnik or AstraZeneca, he said, could use the vaccine that Iran’s Pasteur Institute is developing jointly with Cuba.

“To complicate the issue of vaccination, especially when done by the Health Ministry, is to betray the people,” Dr. Kazem told IranWire. “Vaccination must be carried out on time if the goal is to eradicate Covid-19. Otherwise it’s the same as having had the first shot twice and from a scientific point of view, this is ridiculous.”

For his part, Dr. Kazem believes the supposed development of CovIran-Barekat has largely been a “show” put on by the Islamic Republic, coming as it does under the auspices of a massive conglomerate controlled by the Supreme Leader.

“What do I mean by a show?” he said. “No information about the studies conducted on this vaccine has been given to us: to the companies that are fully involved in the inoculation process. And when the results of these studies are not known, how can they have been researching using it as a substitute for the Chinese vaccine?

“When it comes to Covid-19 vaccines, the regime is mired in a swamp. The more it thrashes around by making these claims the deeper it sinks.

“Look at the composition of the vaccines that have been developed around the world. You can find out about them with a Google search. Some are similar in their composition, but this does not mean that they have the same efficacy rate. What’s more, they work very differently to each other. No vaccine can be swapped out for another without extensive research.”

Dr. Kazem himself has been inoculated with AstraZeneca as his first dose. “I would not accept a substitute for my second,” he says.

Official Coronavirus Statistics

According to the official statistics announced daily by the Health Ministry, a total of 1,014 patients in Iran lost their lives to Covid-19 in the week ending June 10. With 179 deaths recorded, June 8 saw the highest number of fatalities for the week. The number of confirmed cases dipped on June 5 but had almost doubled again on June 10.

At the week’s end, a total of 3,549 Covid-19 patients were being treated in ICUs while the officially-recorded number of infections in Iran since the outbreak began passed the three million mark. As of now just 742,817 Iranians, less than one percent of the population, have so far been fully inoculated.

At the end of the week 16 Iranian cities were on red alert for infection spread, 201 were rated orange and 231 were yellow. No city in Iran is currently on blue alert, the lowest-possible alert level.

Ebrahim Raeesi’s Reckless Campaign Event

At the same time as health officials were warning about the likelihood of a fifth coronavirus surge in Iran, on June 9 Ebrahim Raeesi, the country’s current chief justice and conservative frontrunner in Iran’s presidential election, went ahead with a campaign rally in Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan province.

The event drew criticism from Iranian social media users and government officials alike. President Rouhani said on June 10: “Medical staff and health defenders do not expect those who are supposed to occupy the highest executive position in the country to abuse medical staff and make things difficult for them.” He ordered the responsible agencies to issue fresh warnings about attending pre-election events, with the “utmost seriousness and determination.”

June 18 – June 24:

Following an outpouring of criticism in Iran of an emergency permit being issued for the country’s first domestic Covid-19 vaccine, CovIran-Barekat, Kianoush Jahanpour, a  spokesman for Iran’s Food and Drug Administration, has called the critics “jerks”.

The ex-Health Ministry spokeman’s unprofessional outburst came after news also broke that CovIran-Barekat would cost three times as much as imported vaccines. This did not sit well with officials in the Health Ministry either.

Jahanpour also tried to deny reports about the price of the first Iranian-made vaccine, which is being produced by a subsidiary of Executive Headquarters of Imam’s Directive, a massive parastatal conglomerate under the control of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

But less than 24 hours later, Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz, Jahanpour’s own boss at the Food and Drug Administration, confirmed the reports, adding that the government would buy this vaccine at 200,000 tomans (more than US$8 at open market prices and close to $49 at the official Iranian exchange rate) per dose from the Headquarters, also known as Setad.

The pace of vaccination with imported vaccines is still sluggish as Iran squares up to the possibility of a fourth wave of infections in its ongoing battle with coronavirus. Iranians aged over 70 are still unsure when they will be fully inoculated, with millions left waiting for their second dose after stocks dried up.

Iran’s deputy health minister for research has also warned against the “hasty” decision to deploy the domestic vaccine. But the office of the Supreme Leader has confirmed the rollout of CovIran-Barekat will take place, and in a publicity stunt designed to silence critics, the 82-year-old Khamenei was pictured supposedly receiving the Iranian-made jab on Sunday.

Is CovIran-Barekat for Real?

The emergency permit issued to CovIran-Barekat raised a number of questions. Last week IranWire’s Farsi team interviewed a doctor of pharmacology who works for one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in Iran, who said: “I can tell you with confidence that there is no such thing as CovIran-Barekat vaccine.

“The Islamic Republic is probably offering another vaccine under its own brand... [One possibility] is that the Health Ministry, hand in hand with the Food and Drug Administration, has purchased and imported the cell stock for development of another vaccine.

“The second possibility that the cell stock in the joint vaccine being developed with Cuba has been used for making CovIran-Barekat. It must be noted that another company in addition to the Pasteur Institute is working with the Cuban company, and CovIran-Barekat might use doses of this vaccine.”

The third possibility, he said, also involved the joint development of a vaccine. The most likely scenario was the use of cell stock from joint development with the Russian creators of Sputnik V for CovIran-Barekat.

The report immediately drew the ire of Hojjat Niki Maleki, head of Setad’s public relations. Without responding to the specific points raised, he quoted a single sentence and tweeted: “Until yesterday they said the Barekat vaccine is dangerous and must not be used. Today they say it is OK because the Islamic Republic is offering another vaccine under Barekat’s brand.”

Setad has steadfastly refused to divulge specific data about clinical trials of its vaccine on human subjects. Earlier, there had been objections to the results published from the animal testing phase. But they went ignored by Setad and within a week an emergency permit was issued for the vaccine.

Officials of the Islamic Republic have repeatedly said they do not need a permit from international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) to put a domestic vaccine to use.

The CovIran-Barekat Price Controversy

On June 22, Iranian media reported that CovIran-Barekat had been priced at 200,000 tomans, over $8 on the open market exchange rate, while imported vaccines such as AstraZeneca currently cost less than $3.

This led to public outcry – and to Kianoush Jahanpour’s branding of the critics as “jerks”. In his rebuttal to his own team member, the Food and Drug Administration’s Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz confirmed the 200,000-toman price tag but insisted that when calculated based on rates set by the Iranian state-run online currency exchange, Nima, it cost less.

Meanwhile Alireza Vahabzadeh, an advisor to the first health minister, said that based on Nima’s rates the vaccine ought to cost $5.70 per dose: 70 percent cheaper, he claimed, than the average cost of a foreign vaccine.

He justified the price by saying: “If we didn’t make this, we’d have to wait in a long line to buy vaccines [from foreign countries]. But it would have cost Iran millions of dollars as well. Of course, people don’t have to pay anything for this vaccine.”

In other words, Iranian officials have played on vastly different exchange rates – the official one, the open market rate, and the artificial values listed on the online exchange they control – to “prove” the cost of Setad’s jab is not unreasonably high. On the other hand, of course, if the allegations about rebranding are true, they would also be making a nifty profit.

Ali Khamenei Pushes Iran’s First Domestic Vaccine

Widespread disquiet over the licensing of CovIran-Barekat has also prompted Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to intervene. Last week it was abruptly announced that Ayatollah Khamenei would be inoculated with the domestic vaccine himself.

During the third wave of coronavirus infections in Iran, on January 8 this year, the Supreme Leader banned the importation of US and UK-made Covid-19 vaccines, saying the two countries were not “trustworthy”.

In justifying his decision, Khamenei said: “A few days ago, there were 4,000 deaths in their country [the US] in one day. If they know how to make a vaccine, and if their Pfizer factory knows how to produce one, they can use it for themselves so that there won’t be so many deaths there.”

Last week’s announcement had the desired effect. Immediately after the “revelation” that Khamenei would be injected with CovIran-Barekat, Iranian officials fell over themselves to support the rollout.

“The Barekat vaccine has thoroughly completed phase 3 of clinical trials and received an emergency permit from the health ministry,” tweeted the MP Zohreh Elahian. “Of course, foreign vaccines have received emergency permits as well, but the difference is that the Health Ministry and the Food and Drug Administration have received the data about [clinical trials of] Barekat, whereas we do not have this data about imported vaccines.

This, of course, was a bare-faced lie; the manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines have been obligated to share the results of clinical trials, although the raw data for Sputnik V is not yet available.

Conversely, however, Farid Najafi, deputy health minister for research and technology, broke rank to express concern about the emergency permit being issued for CovIran-Barekat. “The National Ethics Committee has warned that issuing an emergency permit for a vaccine that has not completed phase 3 is a momentous decision,” he wrote in a letter to Health Minister Saeed Namaki, “and it can only be issued for Barekat, Pasteur and other vaccines [without completing phase 3] if there are no usable vaccines in the country.” To issue an emergency permit, he added, information about “the consequences of its being ineffective” must be “transparently be made available to the public.”

Earlier this year Najafi was appointed the successor to Reza Malekzadeh, the previous deputy minister for research, who resigned in November 2020 in protest against Namaki’s actions.

In his letter of resignation to Namaki, Malekzadeh had described the health minister’s actions in dealing with the pandemic as “hasty”, “contradictory” and “very wrong”. He described the launch of an Iranian-made vaccine as a “circus”, adding of CovIran-Barekat: “Statements made by your excellency regarding the development of the Iranian vaccine which is still in the early phases of development were unscientific and hasty.”

The research division also drafted an 88-point list of criticisms of the Iranian state’s handling of the pandemic, reproduced in full at the close of IranWire’s comprehensive report on coronavirus in Iran last year. It included an unscientific approach and scientists’ lack of access to useable data on Covid-19.

In his response, and when appointing Farid Najafi as his new deputy for research, Namaki had written: “Previous ignorant drivel must not be repeated.” The question now is whether Namaki will classify Najafi’s warning as “ignorant drivel” as well.

Official Coronavirus Statistics

According to the official statistics announced daily by the health ministry, a total of 854 patients lost their lives to Covid-19 in Iran in the week ending June 24. With 144 deaths, June 24 had the highest number of fatalities for the week.

At the week’s end, 3,225 Covid-19 patients were being treated in ICUs. As the figures below show, as of now just 1,069,565 Iranians of a population of more than 82 million have received both doses of vaccine.

June 25 - July 1:

The Delta variant of coronavirus, a hyper-infectious strain which was first detected in India, has spread across Iran. According to the health officials of the Islamic Republic, this is now driving a “fifth wave” of Covid-19.

From last month, when the first cases of this variant were identified in southern Iranian provinces, it would have been prudent to speed up vaccination efforts across Iran as a matter of priority. Instead, not only has the program practically ground to a halt, but the country’s eastern borders remain open.

Presidential election campaign rallies and the nationwide university entrance exams are almost certain to have contributed to the surge in new infections. At the same time, the summer heat wave has made it much more difficult for people to countenance wearing masks and other protective gear.

Iranian officials continue to make promises about various vaccines, both domestic and imported. But the total numbers of doses administered – first and second combined – remains a little over six million.

The Crisis in Sistan and Baluchistan

No other province has been as hard-hit by the Delta variant as Sistan and Baluchistan. The number of fatalities from Covid-19 in one day has reached 18, more than 1,000 new cases are being officially recorded every day and the daily number of outpatients and hospitalizations has surpassed the national average.

On June 30, warning that a “tsunami of death” was approaching Sistan and Baluchistan, provincial prosecutor Mehdi Shamsabadi asked Health Minister Saeed Namaki to contain travel to and from this province by enacting measures on the ground.

Journalists and civil activists have also been covering the crisis locally, with Hamshahri newspaper reporting the situation has forced “people in Sistan and Baluchistan to turn from searching for empty hospital beds to searching for empty graves… [The province] has gone beyond red alert and is now black.”

Hospitals in the province are at capacity, empty graves are not readily available and every day both the water and electricity are cut off for a few hours. In the three hospitals in the provincial capital, Zahedan, there have been no free beds for two weeks and as the provincial governor recently reported, 10 cities in Sistan and Baluchistan have no hospital whatsoever.

“The  situation in Sistan and Baluchistan is a tragedy,” tweeted Navid Borhanzehi, a resident of the province. “Almost every 90 minutes coronavirus claims a victim, and each hour, 50 people test positive...Okay, we’ll stay at home, but in cities like Zahedan and Chabahar we have to go out to get water for cooking and drinking.”

According to Zahedan’s prosecutor, many people in the province do not believe in doctors and do not go to medical centers, meaning they succumb to the virus in their villages and are not included in the national statistics.

A shortage of test kits has made the situation worse. The journalist Sina Ghanbarpour recently warned that in the city of Saravan there is just one lab equipped to conduct the tests, which is now facing a backlog.

Finally on July 1, three weeks into the crisis, the Health Ministry sent a rapid-response team to the province to appraise the situation. Hossein Ali Shahriari, an MP for Zahedan, has blamed “mismanagement” for the spread of the Delta variant, telling reporters he had penned a letter to President Rouhani asking him to close the borders with  Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Health Ministry has confirmed the dominant coronavirus strain in Sistan and Baluchistan is the Delta variant. Back on May 15, Health Minister Saeed Namaki sent a letter to his Indian counterpart, in which announced that the Islamic Republic was ready to provide India with technical assistance, expertise and equipment to get the virus ybder control. But this variant has now been spreading in Iran’s southern provinces for the past four weeks and no action has been taken to control it. It has even been reported that Namaki is not returning the calls of the governor of Sistan and Baluchistan.

Empty Warnings

A number of cases of the Delta variant were confirmed weeks ago, but neither ordinary Iranians nor the government took it particularly seriously. In early June the Health Ministry put 16 cities, mostly in southern Iran, on red alert, increasing the number to 22 in the week ending June 18, the date of the presidential vote. The number of “red” cities is now back up to 63.

During this time the Health Ministry has repeatedly warned about the spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants in the five provinces of Bushehr, Kerman, Hormozgan, Sistan and Baluchistan and Yazd. But land, air and sea borders have remained open. Besides these five southern provinces, Tehran, South Khorasan, Khuzestan, Fars, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, Golestan, Lorestan and Mazandaran currently have at least one red city each.

Of the 10 cities in Bushehr province, nine are on red alert. According to the deputy governor of Hormozgan, the situation in this province is critical as well.

The Fifth Wave

On June 30, Dr. Nader Tavakoli of the Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce announced the fifth wave of coronavirus infections in Iran had started. If this continues, he said, Tehran province would be set on red alert within the week. There are now 4,400 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in Tehran.

A doctor who works in a hospital in Tehran treating Covid-19 patients told IranWire the situation in the Iranian capital is “worrisome”: “In order to hold the presidential election, officials brought the situation back to ‘normal’ and this has led to an increase in hospitalizations.”

He added: “People’s approach towards this variant should be no different to the previous ones. Masks and social distancing are still the primary tools for containing infections. We know people are tired, and have had enough, but there is no other way. Without mincing words, I must say that the main culprit for the situation in Tehran and southern provinces is the government.”

Iran’s neighbor, Turkey, was able to lift all health-related restrictions on July 1 while Iran is getting ready to deal with the fifth wave of coronavirus. “The people of Turkey or other countries did not go abroad individually to buy vaccines!” the doctor said. “The government of Iran that is the first and the last culprit when it comes to each victim. They have allowed the Delta variant to march across the country in the past few weeks.”

The Turkish government has imported tens of millions doses of the Pfizer vaccine while Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, banned the importation of US- and UK-made vaccines in January.

Official Coronavirus Statistics

According to the official statistics announced daily by the health ministry, a total of 916 patients lost their lives to Covid-19 in the week ending July 1. With 142 deaths, June 29 had the highest number of fatalities for the week.

At the week’s end the health ministry announced that 63 Iranian cities were on red alert, 184 were orange and 201 were yellow. No city in Iran is currently on blue alert.

This is part of IranWire's coronavirus chronology. Read the full chronology

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