UN arms embargo lifted, weapons purchase will now be based on defensive needs: Iran

WION Web Team New Delhi Oct 18, 2020, 06.58 AM(IST)

File photo of Mohammad Javad Zarif Photograph:( Reuters )

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Iran said that procurement of new arms and equipment will now take place "solely base on" Iran's "defensive needs"

Iranian foreign ministry said on Sunday that a longstanding United Nations embargo on arm sales to and frop from Iran had expired in line with the landlmark nuclear deal reached in 2015. The ministry said that "all restrictions" were "automatically terminated".

"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," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry further said that procurement of new arms and equipment with now take place "solely base on" Iran's "defensive needs".

"As of today, the Islamic Republic may procure any necessary arms and equipment from any source without any legal restrictions, and solely based on its defensive needs," the ministry added in the statement sent out on Twitter.

It insisted that under the terms of the deal, struck with the United States, China, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union, "the lifting of arms restrictions and the travel ban were designed to be automatic with no other action required."

The landmark nuclear deal was reached during the presidency of former US President Barack Obama. It was hailed as a landmark step that would have seen considerable decrease in animosity between the USA and Iran.

However, curent US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and has unilaterally begun reimposing sanctions on Iran.

But Washington suffered a setback in August when it failed to win support from the United Nations Security Council to indefinitely extend the arms embargo.

It was "a momentous day for the international community," the Iranian ministry said on Sunday, adding the world had stood with Tehran "in defiance of the US regime's efforts".

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But it stressed that "unconventional arms, weapons of mass destruction and a buying spree of conventional arms have no place in Iran's defense doctrine".

Despite pulling out of the deal, the Trump administration insists it is still a "participant" and can therefore go ahead with reimposing sanctions. 

Washington has said it has decided to unilaterally reinstate virtually all of the UN sanctions on Iran lifted under the accord. 

 

But the US legal argument has been rejected by almost the entire UN Security Council, with European allies of the United States saying the priority is to salvage a peaceful solution to  Iran's nuclear programme.

Moscow said in September that it was ready to boost its military cooperation with Tehran, while Beijing has also spoken of its willingness to sell arms to Iran after October 18.

Washington maintained it will seek to prevent Iran from purchasing Chinese tanks and Russian air defence systems.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in a tweet that the international community had "protected" the nuclear deal and Sunday marked the "normalization of Iran's cooperation with the world".

(With AFP inputs)