Khamenei bars US and British vaccines

Iran's Supreme Leader: Importing American and British vaccines is forbidden, I don't trust them.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday banned the country from importing of American Pfizer-BioNTech and Britain's Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccines, reports The Associated Press.

In a televised speech, Khamenei said the import of American and British vaccines were "forbidden," referring to the surging death tolls from the virus in both countries.

"I really do not trust," them, the Supreme Leader said of those nations. "Sometimes they want to test" their vaccines on other countries.

Khamenei also said that he is "not optimistic (about) France" either.

Iran has for months wrestled with the worst outbreak in the Middle East of COVID-19 and has accused the US of making it difficult for it to purchase medicine and health supplies from abroad, including COVID-19 vaccines, due to the sanctions imposed on it.

The US insists that medicines and humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions.

The governor of Iran’s Central Bank recently 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.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later said that Washington is demanding Iranian transactions for coronavirus vaccines pass through US banks.

During his 50-minute speech Friday, Khamenei addressed the transition of power in the US by mocking American politics after a violent mob overran the Capitol building in Washington this week.

"This is their democracy; this is their elections' situation," Khamenei said, before suggesting the US was being paid back for inciting tensions in Iran in 2009, after its election.

Khamenei also said the West should bring the end to "hostile and traitorous" sanctions against Iran.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)