Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi (C) during a visit to Imam Khomeini Hospital and Corona Vaccination Center in Tehran, Aug 10, 2021. (AFP)

August 26, 2021

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says the country is “seriously lagging behind” in certain social and economic areas and the government must act to “improve people’s livelihoods” as the country grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases.

Speaking on August 26 at the start of his first cabinet meeting since the government was approved by parliament a day earlier, Raisi acknowledged that the situation in the country “must certainly change.”

Iran has struggled to control the COVID-19 pandemic with officials blaming the more contagious Delta variant for the country’s “fifth wave” of coronavirus infections.

Critics, however, point to a decision earlier this year to ban the import of vaccines made by the United States, Britain, and France, because they could cause “unknown and irreversible complications.”

The move has helped cause the country’s vaccination drive to lag far behind expectations and Raisi, an ultraconservative, vowed to increase vaccine imports and boost local production, saying efforts so far have been “necessary but not enough.” He did not give any details of his plans.

Iranian authorities have approved the emergency use of two domestically developed vaccines, but the only mass-produced one, COVIran Barekat, is in short supply.

More than 16.3 million people out of the country’s 83 million inhabitants have been given a first vaccine dose, but only 5.4 million have received the second, the Health Ministry said on August 20.

In addition to the coronavirus outbreak, which has hit Iran harder than any other country in the Middle East and continues to wrack up daily records for deaths and new cases, Raisi said the government must rein in inflation as the impact of financial sanctions imposed by Washington decimates the economy.


About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.