By Pouyan Khoshhal
December 28, 2020
At a meeting of the National Coronavirus Taskforce on Saturday, December 26, President Rouhani defended his administration’s efforts to purchase a coronavirus vaccine and assured Iranians that his government would succeed, despite pressure from the US.
“No one should doubt the clear viciousness and obstruction of the Americans, not only in the matter of buying vaccines, drugs and food, but also in any transaction or purchase from abroad,” he said. “We called on the country where our money is to transfer it to us so that we could buy the vaccine, that country assented, and OFAC [US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control] did not seem to mind – but then they said it must be transferred to an American bank first, then from the American bank to us. But who trusts you? You have stolen our money wherever you have found it. How can you trust a notorious thief?
“Our people should know we have problems, but these problems won’t block our efforts. Something might end up more expensive, something might be done with delay, but it will be done”.
Schools Shall Remain Closed
Traffic curfew within cities from 9pm to 4pm has been “one of the most effective measures” in containing the spread of coronavirus and this curfew will continue, said Alireza Raeesi, spokesman for the National Coronavirus Taskforce. No city in Iran is officially in a red state of alert for coronavirus transmission but the curfew will apply in orange and yellow cities.
Schools will also remain closed and classes must be conducted remotely until the situation improves. Raeesi expressed hope that schools will reopen next year after a vaccination program gets under way. According to Raeesi, the rate of coronavirus hospitalizations has dropped by more than 40 percent and fatalities by more than 50 percent. In all Iranian provinces except Mazandaran, he said, the number of infections and fatalities have been falling.