TEHRAN -- Iran’s foreign minister says his ministry is planning to set up a special headquarters in order to speed up the provision of coronavirus vaccines from any country whose standards are approved by Iran’s Health Ministry.
Hussein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks on Thursday on the sidelines of a cabinet session in Tehran, saying that he will put the issue of coronavirus pandemic on top of his agenda at the ministry.
Noting that a special headquarters will be set up at the Foreign Ministry to facilitate vaccine imports, Amir-Abdollahian said, “We will do our best to import vaccines without any limitation from any country whose vaccines can be transferred into the country and whose scientific standards are confirmed by the Health Ministry.”
He explained that the headquarters’ goal is to activate the potential of all Iranian embassies and the country’s capacities abroad, both in the public and private sectors, to expedite the imports.
Amir-Abdollahian also pointed to the Pakistani foreign minister’s trip to Tehran, saying that one of the issues that would be discussed during his meeting with Shah Mahmood Qureshi is the latest developments in neighboring Afghanistan and the region.
“Plans have been made in line with our neighbor- and Asia-oriented policy, which will be announced gradually in the coming days,” the Iranian foreign minister added.
Amir-Abdollahian received the approval of the Iranian lawmakers on Wednesday to replace Muhammad Javad Zarif as Iran’s chief diplomat. He received 270 votes in favor, 10 against and 6 abstentions.
Later on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry hosted the first joint session with the Health Ministry to coordinate efforts on the provision of coronavirus vaccines.
The session was attended by Amir-Abdollahian and Health Minister Bahram Einollahi in addition to other relevant authorities from the Health Ministry, the Management and Planning Organization, and the Central Bank of Iran, as well as managers from different economic and regional departments of the Foreign Ministry.
During the session, Amir-Abdollahian expounded on the COVID-19-related measures taken by the Foreign Ministry and thanked his predecessor, Zarif, for his efforts.
Einollahi also appreciated the measures taken by the Foreign Ministry to provide vaccines and underscored the necessity of expanding cooperation between relevant bodies at such a critical juncture.
Iran has been fighting back against one of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks in the world, with the crippling sanctions slapped on the country by the U.S. significantly hampering the country’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus and provide vaccines from other countries.
The sanctions were imposed by the administration of former President Donald Trump under a “maximum pressure” campaign and have been maintained by the current administration of Joe Biden, which has refused to soften the bans to ease pandemic-related hardship on Iranians.
Iranian officials have described the sanctions as “economic terrorism” and “medical terrorism” over their deadly impact on ordinary people.