Sun 18 October 2020:
Iran has announced that it is now free to purchase weapons on the basis of its defense needs, as a United Nations conventional arms embargo imposed on the country expired on Sunday.
In a statement carried by state media, the Iranian foreign ministry said “as of today, all restrictions on the transfer of arms, related activities and financial services to and from the Islamic Republic of Iran … are all automatically terminated.”
A momentous day for the international community, which— in defiance of malign US efforts—has protected UNSC Res. 2231 and JCPOA.
Today’s normalization of Iran’s defense cooperation with the world is a win for the cause of multilateralism and peace and security in our region. pic.twitter.com/sRO6ezu4OO
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) October 17, 2020
The end of the embargo means Iran will legally be able to buy and sell conventional arms, including missiles, helicopters and tanks, and the Iranian foreign ministry said the country can now “procure any necessary arms and equipment from any source without any legal restrictions, and solely based on its defensive needs”.
However, Iran was self-reliant in its defense, the statement said, adding that “unconventional arms, weapons of mass destruction and a buying spree of conventional arms have no place” in the country’s defense doctrine.
EU embargoes on conventional arms exports and missile technology are still in place and will remain in force until 2023.
The foreign ministers of the E3 in July issued a joint statement that said while the three countries remain committed to fully implementing Resolution 2231, they believe the lifting of the arms embargo “would have major implications for regional security and stability”.
Furthermore, China and Russia, or any other country pondering arms sales to Iran, would act based on their foreign policy interests, which would have to consider the balance of power and future economic interests in the Gulf and the wider region.
Iran and China have been considering a major 25-year strategic partnership deal, the details of which have yet to be published.
According to Tong Zhao, a senior fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, the deal has already caused international scrutiny, so China, which wants to demonstrate the image of a “responsible power”, will tread carefully.
“More importantly, if [Joe] Biden is elected the new US president – which seems increasingly likely – Beijing would want to reboot the US-China relationship with a new US administration,” he told Al Jazeera.