Iran’s health minister has claimed that Iran is on track to be one of the world’s top producers and exporters of coronavirus vaccines, indicating that the country would not only soon begin a period of recovery following the damage of the pandemic, but that it would be seen on the world stage as one of the drivers of such a process.
Saeed Namaki, the Minister of Health and Medical Education, made his claim during a ceremony on Thursday, February 11.
"We give the good news to the Iranian people that in the next two to three months we will be one of the major poles of coronavirus vaccine production in the region and one of the major exporters of this vaccine to the world," he said.
He made the announcement despite a considerable lag in Iran’s development of a vaccine, and despite the fact that the vaccines under development have not passed even the initial stages of testing on humans. Although Namaki did not say specifically which vaccines he was referring to, he was likely talking about Iran’s joint work on Russian and Cuban vaccines set to be developed within the Islamic Republic.
"All the ambiguities about the production of the coronavirus vaccine were removed during our visit to Russia," said Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz, the deputy health minister.
Shanehsaz was referring to a recent trip to Russia and his meeting with his Russian counterpart. "In terms of exchanging experiences and visiting the coronavirus vaccine company in Russia, it was a good trip and we received good information. And there were talks with the Russian side about the joint production of the coronavirus vaccine."
Despite the acceleration of vaccinations in many countries around the world and the region, the Iranian government has so far imported only 20,000 doses of vaccines from Russia. It has not procured any vaccines produced in the United States or Europe after the Supreme Leader announced a ban on vaccines from those countries.