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People's Daily Online

Iran blasts U.S. sanctions for hindering its vaccine campaign

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 14:50, April 26, 2021

TEHRAN, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday criticized unilateral sanctions by the U.S. for having an adverse impact on Iran's vaccination campaign.

"Global COVID-19 pandemic should've had a global vaccination response," Zarif tweeted on Sunday.

"But many have been left to fend for themselves, whether due to sanctions & #MedicalTerrorism against Iranians, or out of malice toward Palestinians," he said.

Zarif said the sanctions are blocking Iranian access to medical supplies.

He said the United States has a vaccine surplus, adding that "#VaccineHoarding = #MassMurder."

Washington, under former President Donald Trump, exerted maximum pressure against Iran, which also hit Iran's health sector.

According to Iranian news network Press TV, the sanctions have intensified the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and hindered the government's efforts to contain the deadly virus.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani earlier this month accused the United States of blocking Iran's access to 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by pressuring relevant suppliers.

As of Saturday, 584,736 Iranians received the first dose of coronavirus vaccines and 157,258 the second dose, which have been imported mostly from Russia.

While Tehran is wrestling with a relatively slow vaccine rollout, health officials in the country have said domestic vaccines will be available this summer.

On Sunday, clinical studies of the third phase of the Iranian COVID-19 vaccine called "COV-Iran Barekat" began with jabs given to three volunteers, official IRNA news agency reported.

Iran's total infections have surpassed 2.3 million, with almost 70,000 deaths since the country reported its first cases of the disease in February 2020.

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