Iran denied using monkeys for ’secretive’ laboratory test

July 13th, 2008 - 12:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, July 13 (Xinhua) Iran has denied the charges of using African monkeys for “secretive experiments” to produce biological weapons, Iran’s English-language satellite channel Press TV has reported. The channel Saturday quoted an Iranian lab official as saying that the the monkeys purchased from Africa were used for testing the safety of polio vaccines.

The Sunday Times of London reported July 6 that hundreds of endangered monkeys were sent to a “secretive” laboratory in Iran, fuelling speculation that the monkeys may be used for research involving biological weapons.

Abdolhossein Dalimi-Asl, head of the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, rejected the claims and said the monkeys purchased from a Tanzanian dealer were meant for testing the safety of polio vaccines and the tests were done as per the guidelines of the World Health Organization.

The research institute has been buying monkeys from Tanzania for scientific purposes since 1971, he added.

“The monkeys were purchased legally, with permission from Tanzania, as well as environmental protection organizations,” Dalimi-Asl said, adding that thus there was no conflict with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Four Tanzanian companies currently provide Vervet monkeys for the eight countries that produce polio vaccines, according to Press TV.

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