But let’s just say there were serious costs to having close ties to China from, say, December 2019 to March 2020. Iran’s first outbreak of COVID-19 was traced back to Qom, where “China Railway Engineering Corp. is building a $2.7 billion high-speed rail line through Qom. Chinese technicians have been helping refurbish a nuclear-power plant nearby. There are also Chinese religious students studying at Qom’s seminaries.” Lots of Chinese guest workers flying into town in early 2020 meant somebody was bringing COVID-19 with them.
Then let’s observe that religious fanaticism is probably not great for minimizing the spread: “following a surge of COVID-19 cases in the holy city of Qom, dozens of videos were posted online showing pious Muslim supporters of the regime licking and kissing the walls and bars of holy shrines to show that they were not afraid of the virus. Some of the videos even showed mullahs encouraging their children to lick and kiss the shrines.”
Back in January, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei banned the import of U.S. and British vaccines. He did this because he thought his Russian and Chinese allies would be there to help his country. But one big problem with forming a global alliance with other deeply corrupt, paranoid, and duplicitous autocrats is that they tend to mess up basic tasks even more frequently than the idiots we have running our free-market republics. “Alireza Naji, head of the Virology Research Center and member of Covid Scientific Committee told the government Iran Daily that part of the shortage is due to lack of delivery from Chinese and Russian companies that produce Sinopharm and Sputnik vaccines. Naji accused these companies of not honoring their commitments.”