MOSCOW (Reuters) – Iran has approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and plans to both import it and produce it, giving the Middle East’s worst-hit country a tool to fight the spread of COVID-19, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday.
“The Sputnik V vaccine was yesterday also registered and approved by our health authorities,” Zarif said at a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow on Tuesday. “In the near future, we hope to be able to purchase it, as well as start joint production.”
Earlier this month Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority, banned the government from importing vaccines from the United States and Britain, which he said were possibly seeking to spread the infection to other countries.
Iran recorded over 1.38 million cases and 57,560 deaths, according to government data on Tuesday, but there has been a decline in new infections in recent weeks.
(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Alison Williams and Peter Graff)