WASHINGTON, DC – On January 26, the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) hosted a virtual event on the COVID-19 crisis in Iran. The event was titled “Iran Regime’s Restriction of COVID-19 Vaccines, a Crime Against Humanity.” A panel of Iranian American scholars, researchers and physicians discussed the humanitarian implications of Iran’s Supreme Leader’s, Ali Khamenei, ban of the internationally approved vaccines from Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna.
Speakers included Dr. Firouz Daneshgari, Dr. Zohreh Talebi, and Dr. Saeid Sajadi. The event was moderated by Dr. Azadeh Sami.
The panelists shed light on the ongoing COVID-19 situation, which has impacted many countries around the world and been exceptionally mismanaged by the clerical regime in Iran. In the early days of the global pandemic, Iran was hit especially hard by the virus as the regime constantly downplayed the severity of the situation and pursued its economic interests as opposed to the public health of its citizens. In recent weeks, as the rest of the world began distribution of vaccines, Khamenei decided to ban vaccines from Western countries, which will have brutal consequences for the innocent Iranians who have been hard hit by the pandemic.
Dr. Talebi shared one of the eye-opening statistics in Iran, where the COVID death toll has exceeded 206,000. Of course, the Iranian regime has constantly underreported cases and fatalities in the country. Iran continues to hold the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East.
Dr. Daneshgari highlighted the actions and behaviors of the Iranian regime that signal its lack of attention to the public health crisis. As the Islamic Republic continues to pour financial resources into its regional meddling and sponsorship of terrorism, Iranian hospitals, doctors, and nurses are left without access to the most basic medical necessities. The panelists agreed—the regime is using the pandemic as a tool to suppress a society yearning for freedom. Dr. Daneshgari called on the international health community, saying “The international community should not allow this regime to play with public health in such way.”
Although the regime in Tehran continues to blame sanctions imposed by the United States and European nations for their public health crisis, the recent remarks by the Supreme Leader make very clear the true intention of the regime and dispel any myths about sanctions. Dr. Daneshgari elaborated on this further. “Regulations allow companies to supply medicine, medical devices, food, and agricultural commodities to Iran and other embargoed countries,” he said, adding “I know this firsthand because I am founder of a healthcare company and chairman of a humanitarian NGO. There is absolutely no legal hinderance for US or non-US persons to send or donate humanitarian goods to Iran without any specific approval.”
Dr. Sajadi added an eloquent point, saying “the Mullahs, themselves, are the main source of sanctions toward the Iranian people. They have sanctioned and denied the people of their every right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. As far as US sanctions, they do not target any access to medicine or medical equipment.”
Dr. Sami emphasized how the Iranian American healthcare practitioners and physicians are united in their call on the international community and World Health Organization to ensure Iran does not politicize the vaccination for the people of Iran. She further urged the White House, United Kingdom, European Union, and United Nations to condemn Khamenei’s remarks because the barring of COVID-19 vaccines is with criminal intent and will lead to another crime against humanity in Iran.