Three second-half goals against Bahrain saw Saman Ghoddos and Iran fire themselves back into contention for a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Knowing anything less than a win would likely end their hopes of progressing to the Third Round of Asian Qualifying, it was goalless at the interval when Saman was introduced to win his 24th international cap.
Sardar Azmoun converted a through ball to make it 1-0 after 54 minutes and then grabbed his second on the break seven minutes later to give Iran breathing space. Medhi Taremi netted a third with ten minutes to play as Iran secured a big three points.
Iran are now second in Group C with two games to play. Only the top side and the five best runners-up go through to the Third Round which starts in September.
Saman and Iran play Cambodia, who they beat 14-0 in their first meeting, this Friday before a potentially decisive game against Group leaders Iran next Tuesday.