Iran’s CBI chief says prepayment for COVID-19 vaccines finalized

Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Abdolnasser Hemmati says the country has finally made a prepayment for purchase of vaccines to tackle COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  

Hemmati said on Tuesday that the prepayment for 16.8 million doses of vaccines from COVAX, an initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), had taken place on the first day after the January holidays.

He described the provision of the funds to the WHO agent in Switzerland as a complicated operation because it had to get round the US sanctions on Iran and its access to the dollar system.

CBI’s international affairs department, two Iranian banks, and three European banks had contributed to the operation to finalize the prepayment, said Hemmati.

ranian authorities have repeatedly criticized the United States for its inhuman way of pressuring Iran economically as US sanctions have effectively barred Tehran from accessing critical drugs and medical equipment it needs to battle one of largest outbreaks of the coronavirus in the Middle East.

While pursuing a home-grown program to develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, Iran has allocated funds needed for imports of abundant supplies of vaccines from abroad.

However, Washington has blacklisted the entire banking system in Iran, making it extremely difficult for the country to settle payments that should be processed within the international banking system.

In his Tuesday post on Instgram, Hemmati did not elaborate on the amount of prepayment made for the supply of 16.8 million doses of COVAX vaccines to Iran. However, he reiterated that CBI had more funds ready for purchase of other types of COVID-19 vaccines if the Iranian health ministry authorizes those vaccines for use inside the country.