Iran says United Nations arms embargo lifted, allowing it to buy weapons

Elias Hubbard
October 18, 2020

Iran has said a longstanding United Nations arms embargo against the country has been lifted.

The embargo on conventional arms is due to expire on October 18 under the terms of a resolution that blessed the Iran nuclear deal, signed in July 2015 and officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

It means Iran will be legally able to both buy and sell conventional arms, including small arms, missiles, helicopters and tanks.

US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the deal in 2018 and has unilaterally begun reimposing sanctions on Iran.

The U.N. arms embargoes, however, did not stop Iran from sending weapons ranging from assault rifles to ballistic missiles to Yemen's Houthi rebels.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed the UNSC members' decision as "inexcusable" and said, "Iran will spread even greater chaos and destruction if the embargo expires".

Washington has said it has chose to unilaterally reinstate virtually all of the United Nations sanctions on Iran lifted under the accord.

The statement noted that it was a "momentous day" for the global community because it had protected the nuclear deal in defiance of malign U.S. efforts. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also told the council he would not take any action on the U.S. declaration.

Following the rejection, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said: "Today will be a memorable day in the history of our country's diplomacy", and congratulated world powers in standing up to U.S. unilateralism.

Iran says UN arms embargo lifted, allowing it to buy weapons
Iran rules out any arms buying spree as it expects UN embargo expected to end

Sunday also marked the end of U.N.travel bans on a number of Iranian military and paramilitary Revolutionary Guard members.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned it will have a "decisive response" if the USA tries to "bully" other nations into adhering to its reinstatement of sanctions.

Tehran said this gives authorities free reign to undertake new defense policy based exclusively on its own decisions.

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 created to be automatic with no other action required".

"We recall that the European Union embargoes on conventional arms exports and missile technology will remain in force until 2023", they said.

In an exclusive interview with Russia's Interfax News Agency, Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Kazem Jalali talked about various issues such as the prospect of cooperation between Iran and Russian Federation in the military and technical sphere after the termination of the United Nations arms embargo, the collaboration in developing coronavirus vaccine, and Iran's stances on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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.

"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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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