An Iranian diplomat said the country has “many friends” to start trading in armaments with them in line with its national interests as a decade-old United Nations arms embargo against Tehran is due to expire.
“Iran has many friends and trading partners, and has a robust domestic arms industry to ensure its defense requirements against foreign aggression,” Iranian UN mission spokesman Alireza Miryousefi told Newsweek in an interview published on Friday.
The UN restrictions are set to be lifted Sunday under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 which endorses the multilateral nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and major world powers in 2015, Press TV wrote.
The ban’s removal will follow a largely unsuccessful campaign by US President Donald Trump to convince the remaining signatories to defy the nuclear deal and Resolution 2231 and keep the ban on Iran’s arms industry in force.
During the 15-member Security Council vote on August 14, the US received support only from the Dominican Republic for its anti-Iran resolution, leaving it far short of the minimum nine ‘yes’ votes required for adoption.
Trump, a hawkish critic of the JCPOA, unilaterally withdrew Washington from the agreement in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic to strangle its economy in defiance of global criticism.
Following its much-criticized exit, Washington has been attempting to prevent the remaining signatories from abiding by their commitments and thus kill the historic agreement, which is widely viewed as a fruit of international diplomacy.
“In accordance with the timeline stated in Resolution 2231, Iran will be relieved from arms restrictions as early as Oct. 18. Naturally, from that date, we’ll trade, on the basis of our national interests, with other countries in this field,” Miryousefi said.
He added that the lack of support for Washington’s initiatives was telling of its position vis-à-vis the international community.
Miryousefi added, “It is abundantly clear that the UN — and the overwhelming majority of its member states — reject the US’ so-called maximum pressure policy on Iran,” and that “its attempts to even further violate the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231 have led to its isolation.”
Although Iran has not yet formally announced any specific country to start trading arms, Miryousefi said Tehran had options beginning Sunday.
Speaking during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country will be free to trade weapons as of Sunday.
“We fought with the United States on this issue for four years. America was exerting itself to prevent this day from coming, but that day is coming thanks to our people’s resistance. It is because of the endeavors of our diplomats that the US failed,” Rouhani said.
The Islamic Republic has achieved self-sufficiency in most areas of its defense sector and is itself an exporter of arms. Tehran says it can meet its strategic needs through the countries it interacts with like Russia and China once the UN embargo is lifted.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Thursday that Moscow will consider military technical cooperation with Iran in line with mutual interests after the expiration of the United Nations arms embargo on Tehran.
“We are convinced that all possibilities stemming from the expiration of the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 that are linked with military technical cooperation with Iran will be duly taken into account and used on the basis of mutual benefit and in the interests of the peoples of our two states,” Maria Zakharova said.
All the parties to the talks about Iran’s nuclear program were aware from the very beginning that there is no link between restrictions on weapons supplies to Tehran and the settlement of issues pertaining to its nuclear program, added Zakharova.
She emphasized that the United Nations Security Council did not impose a weapons embargo on Iran in 2015, but the country “voluntarily undertook a number of restrictions.”
“It was done in the interests of the soonest successful outcome of the talks on the JCPOA to settle the situation around the Iranian nuclear program,” the Russian diplomat said.
She noted that the term of the corresponding provisions has expired.
Zakharova stressed that Iran was a “reliable partner” for Russia in many areas of cooperation.
Moscow had earlier said “new opportunities” will emerge in cooperation with Iran the UN embargo expires, and that any agreements with Tehran will have “nothing to do with the unlawful and illegal actions of the US administration, which is trying to intimidate the entire world.”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said late last month that Moscow and Tehran roundly reject efforts by the US to permanently extend an arms embargo against the Islamic Republic.
Speaking at a joint press conference that followed a meeting with his visiting Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow, Lavrov added, “We stressed that Moscow and Tehran, like the entire international community, categorically reject US ambitions to impose some kind of indefinite arms embargo.”