A top Shi'a cleric in Iran has denied approving the purchase of a possible anti-coronavirus vaccine from Israel, which Islamic Republic considers as its top enemy.
In a statement on March 14, the office of an officially-recognized "Grand Ayatollah", Nasser Makarem Shirazi, reiterated that he was never asked about an anti-coronavirus vaccine produced by Israel.
"The Q&A on the subject never took place, and it is absolutely fake news," the office asserted.
Following reports on Israeli scientists' progress toward producing an anti-novel coronavirus vaccine, a daily in Iran, Hamdeli (Empathy), published the opinions of Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi and parliament’s Legal Committee Chairman Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadi.
Affiliated with the so-called pragmatic conservative camp in the clergy-dominated Iran, Hamdeli cited Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi as approving the purchase of a vaccine from Israel, if it is the only vaccine on the market.
A few days after the article, the ayatollah’s office issued the denial.
On February 28, The Jerusalem Post (JP) reported that scientists at the Galilee Research Institute, known as MIGAL, were adapting its vaccine against the avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus, or IBV, to work for the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.