Biden should offer the vaccine to Iran

The sanctions are a tool to get Iran’s regime to adhere to limits on its nuclear program, end its support for terrorism and curb its human-rights abuses. A clear-eyed analysis of Iran must acknowledge that most Iranians are victims of the same regime that threatens the U.S. and its allies. With that in mind, an offer of the vaccine to Iran at this moment makes good strategic sense. To start, Iran’s failure to vaccinate its population is due partly to the failure of Russia and China to make good on their earlier commitments. Consider these jaw-dropping comments from Alireza Naji, the head of Iran’s Virology Research Center. One reason for the country’s vaccine shortage, he told the state-run Iran Daily, is that China and Russia had not delivered promised vaccine doses. Only three million doses have been delivered to Iran thus far. About 2% of its population of 83 million is vaccinated. An American offer of vaccines would also place the Iranian regime in a difficult spot. In January, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, banned the import of U.S. and British vaccines. Had China and Russia delivered the promised vaccines on time — Russia alone was supposed to deliver 60 million doses by the end of the year — the supreme leader’s decision may not have mattered. But now that Iran is running out of the few vaccines it has imported, a U.S. offer would strike a further blow to the regime’s legitimacy.