Iranwire – The Minister of Health of Hassan Rouhani’s former government, Saeed Namaki, said in a letter on his last day in office that his ministry had only a “minimal” and “ineffective” role in Iran’s delayed Covid-19 vaccine rollout, limited to providing the infrastructure to administer doses. But he added that he would explain other reasons for the delay only at a later and “calmer” time – to avoid upsetting Iranians who are currently in mourning due to the pandemic.
On August 24, 2021, even as Iran broke the record for the daily death toll from covid for the third time in 10 days, reaching 709, Namaki handed over the Ministry of Health and Medical Education to Ebrahim Raisi’s government.
In the letter, Namaki sought redress from “health defenders” and those who have helped him in other non-governmental organizations. The outgoing health minister also said that in the last days of his term, he had been attacked by “politicized thugs”.
Before the beginning of Muharam, the current month in the Islamic calendar, Namaki had asked the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to order a two-week national lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But the Supreme Leader referred the request to the National Anti-Coronavirus Headquarters which declined to order the lockdown.
Over the last 21 months, meanwhile, Namaki has repeatedly affirmed and justified Khamenei’s stance on banning the import of vaccines produced in the United States or the United Kingdom.
In January of last year, for example, after Khamenei issued an order banning the import of American and British covid vaccines, Namaki said that it was “unreasonable” to buy vaccines from these two countries.