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Iranian President Rouhani blasts US for preventing Iran’s access to Coronavirus vaccine

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Tehran, Dec 26: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Washington has obstructed Iran’s efforts to purchase coronavirus vaccine, and warned officials to control borders to prevent infection of the country’s people with the mutated COVID-19 virus which has spread in the European states.

“Iran is definitely looking to make a vaccine and at the same time we are looking to buy an approved vaccine. The Americans rocked the boat, and evil and vicious activity everywhere is on the part of the Americans. We prepared the money, but the World Health Organization said that OFAC (the US Office of Foreign Assets Control) should license the trade,” President Rouhani said on Saturday, addressing a meeting of the national coronavirus campaign headquarters in Tehran.

“How could one trust you. You are notorious for theft and are you are looking for tracing our funds to seize them,” President Rouhani said addressing the American officials.


He, meantime, said that based on the guidelines of the Supreme Leader, the government is making its utmost efforts to defuse the US sanctions.


President Rouhani referred to the mutation of coronavirus in a number of European states, specially Britain, and stressed the need for the Iranian officials to impose strict health and hygiene protocols, specially at the borders, to prevent the spread of the new virus to Iran.


Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnasser Hemmati said on Thursday night that nearly 200 million euros have been earmarked to purchase 16.8 million doses of coronavirus vaccine.


“We are doing our best to buy medicine and medical equipment by circumventing the cruel US sanctions, and $2.7 billion have so far been allocated for the purchase of medical equipment and medicine,” Hemmati said in a televised program, adding, “Today, in cooperation with the Health Ministry, we have transferred the funds needed to import 16.8 million doses of coronavirus vaccine.”


“After 10 days of efforts, we finally sent some 180 million euros to a bank in Switzerland through an American and Korean bank,” he continued.


“We were able to send this remittance through three banks in Turkey, Europe and a branch of an Iranian bank with the permission of OFAC, as the Americans have always caused a lot of problems for remittances and we were careful that they do not encroach on our financial resources this time either,” the official stressed.


Pointing to the Health Ministry’s talks with the Chinese to supply vaccine, he said that whenever an agreement was signed with China, the CBI would provide the money needed to buy the vaccine from them.


Earlier on Thursday, Iran’s Government Spokesman Ali Rabiyee said that the license for transferring money to purchase coronavirus vaccine was issued.


Rabiyee added that 200 million euros have been allocated and CBI would provide foreign exchange resources for buying the vaccine as much as necessary.(Fars News Agency)

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Afghanistan: 37 killed, over 70 injured as blast hits Shia mosque in Kandahar

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(Asian News Hub) – Suicide bombers assaulted a Shiite mosque in southern Afghanistan that was packed with worshippers attending weekly Friday prayers, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 70, Associated Press reported quoting hospital official and an eyewitness.

The attack on the Imam Barga mosque came a week after a bombing claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan.

Also Read: Amit Shah warns Pakistan, refers to surgical strike

Murtaza, an eye-witness who like many Afghans goes by one name, said four suicide bombers attacked the mosque. Two detonated their explosives at a security gate, allowing the other two to run inside and strike the congregation of worshippers.

Speaking to The Associated Press by phone, he said Friday prayers are typically attended by around 500 people.

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At least 20 killed, over 300 injured in an earthquake in Pakistan

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(Asian News Hub) – At least 20 people were killed and over 300 others injured after a powerful 5.9 earthquake struck Pakistan’s Balochistan province early on Thursday, October 7, 2021, according to PTI quoting media reports.

Disaster management officials said the death toll may increase, Geo News reported.

According to the seismological centre, the epicentre was located near Harnai at a depth of 15 km.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said many of the dead were women and children.

The quake affected Quetta, Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob in Balochistan.

Images on social media showed people in the city of Quetta out on the streets in the aftermath of the quake, Dawn newspaper reported.

Aftershocks are still being felt in different areas. The earliest tremors were felt at 3:20 am after which panicked citizens rushed out of their houses reciting verses from the holy Quran. Relief and rescue activities are underway, with an emergency declared in all hospitals.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Harnai Sohail Anwar Hashmi, several people have been rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

He said that several buildings in Harnai have been damaged. Many people were left buried under the rubble.

The power supply to the area has been suspended, he said.

According to the rescue sources, more than 70 houses were reported damaged in Harnai.

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World surpasses 5M COVID-19 deaths

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(Asian News Hub) – The coronavirus death toll around the world surpassed 5 million on Friday, according to Reuters’s tally.

Around the world, an average of 8,000 deaths a day were reported, according to the outlet. However, it noted that the global death rate has slowed in recent weeks.

Reuters reported that it took over a year to accumulate 2.5 million deaths, but it took under eight months to accumulate the second 2.5 million deaths.

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