Importing/producing vaccine binary: the new strategy of the mainstream media against Iran

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Importing/producing vaccine binary: the new strategy of the mainstream media against Iran
With the new wave of the Corona pandemic, Iran, like a number of other countries in the world is facing a difficult situation. In the midst of this situation, an approach among the Western mainstream media is trying to (mis)interpret the evidence to their own benefits by first, downgrading Iran’s ability in producing a domestic vaccine; second, by speculating that the present difficult situation Iran is facing is the result of the views of Iran’s Leader regarding importing vaccines, especially by misinterpreting his insistence on not importing Covid vaccines from US and Britain. The following Op-Ed article, published by, attempts to analyze the mentioned media approach and reveal, by referring to the very words of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, that not only “importing foreign vaccines” has never been banned in Iran by Imam Khamenei, but that it has been strongly emphasized just like the necessity of working on producing a domestic vaccine.

With the widespread Corona pandemic and the Iranian scientists beginning to manufacture a vaccine, in an op-ed issued on April 22, 2020 entitled, “Does Iran have the capability to make a vaccine?” BBC Persian News wrote, “Some believe it is probably more realistic to rely on foreign vaccines for immunizing the Iranian population, both in terms of scientific experience and capability and in terms of the ability to develop a vaccine and the cost. Thus, developing a vaccine in Iran should be mainly in the framework of a research project simply for gaining experience. Of course, the results should be published.”[1] This media approach, which was followed by Western news agencies, also suggested that Iran should not wait for the production of a domestic vaccine and that they should just purchase Corona vaccines from foreign sources. In opposition to this opinion, while ignoring the Western media’s propaganda and while trusting the Iranian scientists, Imam Khamenei, the far-sighted Leader of the Islamic Revolution, not only agreed with importing vaccines but he also emphasized the need to develop domestic vaccines. Furthermore, he called on knowledge-based companies to work toward this goal.

Seven knowledge-based companies began actively working to implement this strategy. With his strong belief in the motto “We can”, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution pursued this approach until the final result was achieved. And eventually, he received the Iranian COVIran Barakat vaccine in front of the cameras of national and international news agencies. With the spread of the news of the development of the Iranian Barakat vaccine, the enemies of Iran and the Western media were shocked. After India, China, England, the US, and Russia, the Islamic Republic of Iran was the sixth country in the world and the first country in western Asia to produce a Corona vaccine. At the same time, Iran’s achievement as the first Islamic country to produce this vaccine was a source of pride for Muslims throughout the world.

The enemies’ failure to prevent the development of a domestic vaccine in Iran led them to change their approach. The Western media with the help of agents opposed to the Islamic Revolution created a controversy over the production of domestic vaccines vs. importing foreign vaccines. These media outlets suggested that the opinion of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution about a prohibition on importing American and English vaccines means a prohibition on importing vaccines from all countries. They said, “The production of an Iranian vaccine has led to a prohibition on importing vaccines that has led to public discontent.” While repeatedly using the term “prohibition on importing foreign vaccines” in an op-ed entitled “The reason behind the prohibition on purchasing vaccines,” the website of Radio Farda wrote, “Previously, the problem was inaction and mismanagement with respect to Covid-19 in Iran. But now, the problem is the systematic opposition to and intentional prevention of importing Corona vaccines.”[2]

In another joint effort, Western media outlets suggested that the Iranian people do not trust their national vaccines despite the fact that based on the opinion expressed by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution importing vaccines have been banned. These ideas were being propagated even though after expressing his logical view on the prohibition of importing vaccines from the US and England, the Leader of the Revolution had stated in his speech, “Of course, if they [the officials] wish to procure vaccines from other places – places they are sure are safe – this is not a problem.” This unambiguous opinion of the Leader of the Revolution had also been expressed on other occasions and the position adopted by the Leader was completely evident to the official authorities. Moreover, Iran had actually imported vaccines from Russia, China, India, South Korea, Italy, and Japan in several stages, and this is still continuing. At the same time, despite the prohibition on American and English vaccines, importing vaccines with English and American brand names that have been produced in other countries has never been banned. Obviously, due to the US unilateral economic sanctions against Iran, performing the necessary bank transactions for purchasing and importing vaccines has been very difficult at the international level. For example, in the process of importing vaccines from Cuba, there was a delay in transferring 8-15 million dollars in two installments.

The realities behind the scene show that the development of the domestic Covid-19 vaccine has never stopped or slowed the speed of importing foreign vaccines. The endorsement of the domestic vaccine by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution gave Iran the strength to be victorious in the US’ all-out economic war and to purchase and import Corona vaccines from trustworthy foreign sources at the same time despite the pressures exerted by the West. In fact, the Leader’s explicit statements about the non-prohibition of importing vaccines from abroad and his emphasis on accelerating the development and use of domestic vaccines stopped the conspiracy behind creating a controversy over “domestic vaccines vs. importing vaccines.” He showed that producing an Iranian vaccine is not an obstacle to importing foreign vaccines. During the last 50 years, Iran has been a pioneering country in the development of vaccines. The Pasteur Institute of Iran has been active in research, production, providing services, and education since 1920 AD. It has been one of the important centers for the production of vaccines in the region. At the present time, the production of the Corona vaccine is an important achievement by Iranian scientists. In fact, the support and guidance provided by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution has played a leading role in the path to gaining this achievement.


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