Iran said Tuesday (August 18th) it would wait for World Health Organisation (WHO) approval before buying a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine Russia unveiled last week.
Russia said August 11th it had developed the world's first vaccine offering "sustainable immunity" against COVID-19 and was in the final stage of human trials.
This comes despite mounting scepticism about its effectiveness, as global fears grow over a second wave of infections.
Iran has struggled to contain the Middle East's worst outbreak of the virus since announcing its first cases in February.
"We are waiting for the international community, including WHO, (before) we buy the vaccine from Russia," said Alireza Zali, a member of Iran's anti-COVID task force.
"In order for the vaccine to be used, genuine and independent organisations such as WHO must comment on it and approve it, which has not happened yet," he told a news conference in Tehran.
"After scientific approval... we will negotiate with Russia to get the vaccine," said Zali, who oversees efforts against the virus in the Iranian capital.
His remarks came as health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari announced another 168 coronavirus fatalities in the past 24 hours, taking Iran's overall death toll to 19,972.
She also reported another 2,385 new cases of infection over the same period, taking the total number in the country to 347,835.
Iran has faced criticism for its handling of the pandemic.
The Islamic Republic also has been accused of promoting conspiracy theories about the virus and of contributing to its spread early on by failing to implement quarantines and continuing to allow Mahan Air to fly to China.