“Despite the harsh conditions of the country and the illegal and unjust sanctions and the severe economic pressure of the United States, production in Iran has not stopped and today we are witnessing great successes such as self-sufficiency in wheat and other food and agricultural products,” President Hassan Rouhani said late Tuesday.
“We are also self-sufficient in gasoline, gas and diesel production today, and infrastructure work done in the country for years has helped us succeed in the fight against the coronavirus,” he added.
A draconian sanctions regime has motivated Iran to rely on its resources and do some tasks which were deemed far beyond the scope of the country’s capacities.
For example, the US and the Europeans reportedly laughed off Iran’s warning that it would move to carry out 20-percent uranium enrichment on its own if they did not provide the Islamic Republic with the technology.
After Iran announced mastering the technology, its enemies were so enraged that they assassinated the nuclear scientist behind the feat, Majid Shahriari, in November 2010.
Most lately, the country has had to mobilize its resources and produce necessary supplies like masks, gowns, respirators, and ventilators for its coronavirus patients after the US defied international calls to halt its sanctions on the Islamic Republic in order to allow it to fight the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Vice President Sorena Sattari said Iran can now produce anything it needs in its coronavirus fight and is already an exporter of testing kits.
Iran produces more than 96% of its medical needs, but pharmaceutical companies rely on local formulation of generic drugs, which means they have to import ingredients for some drugs.
Some of the generic brands formulated, processed and packaged in Iran are licensed by European and American companies and their production includes imports of semi-manufactured drugs which has been disrupted by the sanctions.
Even food imports are not exempt from the sanctions, despite US claims to the contrary, forcing Tehran to pursue food security with additional seriousness.
The strategy has paid dividends and the country has achieved relative self-sufficiency in some strategic crops, such as wheat.
Last year, Iran celebrated its fourth consecutive year without wheat imports, but government officials said then they had to import some shipments because state purchases from local farmers at guaranteed prices were not enough.
The shortages, however, resulted from the fact that many local wheat growers were unhappy with buying prices offered by the government, opting to sell their crop to intermediaries instead.