In an interview with Javan newspaper, Mohammad Karimi Nia, deputy director at Iran’s Biological Defense Agency, asked whether Iranians are up against a criminal cartel in the distribution of coronavirus vaccines as they are in the country’s pharmaceuticals market, responded, “Yes, and to give you an example, the contract for 2 million doses of the Sputnik vaccine per month between the Iranian company Actoverco and the Russian company Sputnik was signed in Iran. It was then widely publicized in the national media that soon there would be 2 million Sputnik vaccine doses add to the Iranian market every month, but in July, deputy health minister Dr. Raisi informed us that the Russians had defrauded us. If the Russians defrauded us, then why don’t you all take this complaint to the international level? Why don’t you tell people the truth?” In the interview, Karimi Nia said that, in fact, the contract between Sputnik and Actoverco was a form of outsourcing and that the vaccines produced in Iran were never meant to go to Iranians in the first place.

Alireza Raisi, spokesperson for Iran’s Coronavirus Response Headquarters, said in a July 19 conversation on Clubhouse that, according to the contracts, Iran is only home to the production line, and the Russians have the right to distribute any vaccines produced by Actoverco outside of the country.

➾ Also see: Iran’s Big Pharma Leaves Patients in a Bind

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