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Iran: Ayatollah Khamenei Gets Homemade Coronavirus Vaccine on TV

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei received his first dose of “CovIran Barekat,” a Chinese coronavirus vaccine candidate allegedly produced by Iranian scientists, in a ceremony broadcast live on Iranian state television Friday, Iran’s state-run PressTV reported.

“On Friday morning, Ayatollah Khamenei received his first dose of the CovIran Barekat vaccine, which was approved for emergency mass application by the country’s Health Ministry earlier this month,” the Tehran-based news outlet reported.

Receiving the first dose of the #IranianCovidVaccine that has been developed by young Iranian scientists pic.twitter.com/rHl4YT9yP7

— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) June 25, 2021

“After receiving the vaccine, the Leader thanked all those who were involved in the development of the homegrown vaccine, which was produced as part of a project led by the Headquarters for the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, a charitable organization headed by Mohammad Mokhber,” according to PressTV.

The Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, also known as Setad, is an Iranian state-owned enterprise owned by the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader. Iran’s first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, created Setad in the aftermath of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution by confiscating thousands of properties privately owned by Iranian citizens. The European Union (E.U.) in July 2010 included Setad’s leader, Mohammad Mokhber, on a list of a sanctioned entities for his alleged involvement in Iran’s “nuclear or ballistic missiles activities.” The E.U. removed Mokhber from the sanctions list in 2012.

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei sat under a portrait of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as he received his first dose of CovIran Barekat on June 25. Following the medical procedure, he “thanked Mokhber and his colleagues as well as [Iranian] Health Minister Saeed Namaki and all of the country’s health workers who have been fighting against the deadly COVID-19 [Chinese corona]virus for more than a year,” PressTV reported.

“Receiving the first dose of the #IranianCovidVaccine that has been developed by young Iranian scientists [sic],” Khamenei wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account on June 25. The post included a short video clip of the Supreme Leader receiving CovIran Barekat.

“I am truly grateful to all those who used their knowledge & experience & made scientific & practical efforts to provide the country with such a great, prestigious capability, i.e. the #CovidVaccine [sic],” Ayatollah Khamenei wrote in a separate Twitter statement on June 25.

“I told the dear developers that thank God you have been prompt & dedicated in developing a suitable #CovidVaccine. You should publish the relevant scientific papers & documents for the world’s information. This is very important and must be done [sic],” the Supreme Leader wrote in an additional Twitter post on Friday, confirming that Iran has yet to release any clinical data on CovIran Barekat’s safety or efficacy.

Iran has suffered from regular surges in its Chinese coronavirus caseload since it officially reported its first case of the disease in the city of Qom — a major center for China’s infrastructure-building Belt and Road program within Iran — in February 2020. The Islamic Republic has largely failed to curtail its coronavirus epidemic since then. International observers and members of Iran’s own government alike have regularly accused Tehran of downplaying or lying about the severity of its caseload and official statistics for the disease since early 2020.