Iran’s government announced that it would be taking delivery of more than 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine this week, despite a ban on U.S. and British made vaccines imposed by Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Khamenei had suggested that the vaccines would be unreliable and could be used to spread diseases to other countries.
The roll-out is part of the COVAX vaccine distribution scheme which Iran has signed up to, and is led by the World Health Organization (WHO). Iran has also approved the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine which the Iranian government said would be imported to Iran, and produced in the country.
The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is set to hear Iran’s case against the imposition of U.S. sanctions enabled by the previous U.S. administration.
The sanctions were part of a Maximum Pressure Campaign launched by former U.S. President Donald Trump, to try to address the Iranian government’s malign behavior.
Iran’s government is now seeking to have the sanctions lifted, after bringing the case in 2018. The next hearing will look at the merits of Iran’s case, though a final decision is likely to take several years.
And a British-Iranian academic who was convicted in Iran of collaborating with a hostile government, escaped back to the UK whilst on bail. Kameel Ahmady travelled to the Iranian border and trekked through mountains to reach safety.
The scholar whose work focused on tackling Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage in Iran, came to the Iranian government’s attention after campaigning to raise the age of marriage for girls which is currently set at 13, though girls as young as 11 can be married with the consent of a judge.
Ahmady said he had been targeted because he was a dual national and because Iran wanted to retaliate after Britain had seized an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar in July 2019.