TEHRAN -- Sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran under the previous administration of Donald Trump in 2018 are hampering imports of Covid-19 vaccines, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday, as the country passed the grim milestone of 2 million coronavirus infections.
“We were one of the first countries to place an order on time. The United States has blocked us and delayed the transfer of our money for a month or two. That is why our turn in the COVAX scheme is a little behind,” Rouhani said, according to Iranian news agency IRNA.
The president's comments come amid a spike of Covid-19 infections, with 22,586 new cases and 185 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours.
The dramatic rise in new infections across the country can be traced back to restrictions being eased during last month's Persian New Year celebrations, which saw millions of Iranians make trips and hold family gatherings.
Faced with the resurgence of cases, authorities have decided to impose a partial two-week lockdown, meaning many sectors of the economy will shut down. Schools, theaters, sports venues and shopping malls will close.
Iran, which has produced vaccines set to be used after the end of trial phases, has limited quantities of vaccine doses from Russia’s Sputnik V, China’s Sinopharm, India’s Covaxin and AstraZeneca/Oxford.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Iran has recorded 2,006,934 infections and 63,884 deaths.