Iranians facing a shortage of coronavirus vaccines at home are traveling to neighboring Armenia. Tourists in growing numbers are visiting to get inoculated there for free, according to data from Armenia's tourism board.
Armenia has approved three vaccines against the coronavirus - Russia's Sputnik V, China's CoronaVac, and AstraZeneca's vaccine and initially offered all of them free to foreign visitors.
The Armenian Tourism Committee said more than 8,500 Iranian citizens had visited in June, up from 5,000 a month earlier.
Armenian TV reported long queues of Iranians at mobile vaccination units in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, last week with some Iranian tourists saying they had spent several nights in the street waiting for their turn to get vaccinated.
"There were too many people there, there were too many Iranians, and we still don't know if we can get a vaccine or not," said Shirin Darvish, an Iranian tourist who had been waiting to get a shot for ten days.
Iran, with a population of 83 million, had recorded 87,161 deaths from coronavirus as of July 19, the highest toll in the Middle East.