Iran’s vice president Mohammad Mokhber has revealed that COVID vaccine production equipment was brought into the country using an ambassador’s diplomatic pouch.
President Ebrahim Raisi’s first vice president speaking at a meeting of Iranian envoys in neighboring countries said, “In a money transfer attempt to a foreign country a trace of an operation related to vaccines was discovered and we imported the equipment as the household goods of our ambassador.”
He quickly remarked that he should not have said that, but added that “We have solutions to any problems in the country.”
Before becoming vice president Mokhber headed an effort to develop and produce a homegrown vaccine, after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banned the purchase of American and British vaccines in January.
Mokhber who repeatedly promised to produce 50 million doses by August has reportedly delivered only nine million doses to the health ministry. Reports and criticism in local media have spoken of hundreds of million of dollars of state funds given to local vaccine producers who failed to come up with enough doses to inoculate people until August.
A wave of new infections that hit Iran in June killed around 40,000 people until foreign vaccines were finally imported in sufficient quantities in August and September.