Rouhani: US demanding that our vaccine transactions pass through them

Iranian President says Washington is demanding Iranian transactions for coronavirus vaccines pass through US banks.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday that Washington is demanding Iranian transactions for coronavirus vaccines pass through US banks, AFP reports.

"We want to transfer money from a country where our money is" to buy the vaccine and "this country has accepted", Rouhani said during a meeting of Iran's coronavirus task force, without identifying the country in question.

The US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control had initially indicated that "it didn't have a problem" with such a transfer of funds, he said.

But "it said later that the money had to first pass through a US bank before being transferred" for the vaccine purchase, Rouhani added.

Last Thursday, the governor of Iran’s Central Bank said the US had approved an Iranian request to transfer money to a Swiss bank to pay for COVID-19 vaccines, claiming the US “accepted this one case under the pressure of world public opinion.”

The Trump administration has regularly enforced sanctions on Iran since 2018, when it withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and has ramped up the sanctions in recent months, when its efforts to extend a UN arms embargo on Iran did not succeed.

Iranian officials have claimed that US sanctions are making it difficult for Iran to purchase medicine and health supplies from abroad, including COVID-19 vaccines. The US insists that medicines and humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions.

Iran has for months wrestled with the worst outbreak in the Middle East of COVID-19.

In a clear sign of the scale of the outbreak, dozens of top officials have fallen ill. At least 30 lawmakers have tested positive in recent months and some have died.

High-profile deaths in Iran from the coronavirus include a member of the council advising the Ayatollah, a former ambassador, a newly-elected member of parliament, an adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and a re-elected member of parliament.