Iran will sell more weapons than it will buy: defense chief

October 19, 2020 - 14:56

TEHRAN — Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said on Sunday that Iran will sell more weapons than it will purchase following the expiration of a UN arm embargo on Tehran that expired on October 18.

“Since a year ago, many countries came to us and we had discussions with them,” Hatami said, Tasnim reported. “The ground for selling and buying weapons is prepared for the Islamic Republic of Iran, but of course, the sales will be more.”

He said many foreign authorities who came to Iran were surprised by Iran’s great progress in producing weapons.

Iran will support the countries seeking to defend their existence now that the arms embargo is lifted, he remarked, adding that Iran will sell weapons to the countries despised by the Americans if they ask for it.

He said all countries have the right to defend their territorial integrity and Iran will be a good actor in this regard as it seeks to preserve peace.

According to the defense chief, Iran’s first goal is to become self-sufficient and powerful in terms of defensive capabilities and its second goal is to support the countries in their attempt to defend their existence.

Under the historic 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the UN Security Council’s ban on trade in conventional weapons against the Islamic Republic ended on Sunday. 

“As of today [October 18, 2020], all restrictions on the transfer of arms, related activities and financial services to and from the Islamic Republic of Iran, and all prohibitions regarding the entry into or transit through territories of the United Nations Member States previously imposed on a number of Iranian citizens and military officials, are all automatically terminated,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry declared in a statement on Sunday.

The ban was terminated under the terms of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that blessed the JCPOA between the Islamic Republic and six world powers.

The U.S. government, under President Donald Trump, suffered a humiliating defeat on August 14 as it failed to renew the arms embargo through a resolution at the UN Security Council. Russia and China voted against the motion and the remaining 11 council members, including France, Germany and the UK, abstained.

In his Sunday remarks, Hatami said the U.S. sanctions on Iran pushed the country toward self-sufficiency. 

Now, the Islamic Republic can produce and supply 90 percent of its defense needs inside the country, he stated.

The general also assured regional countries that Tehran wants peace, stability and security for the region and the world, underlining that this is the defense policy of the Islamic Republic.

Pompeo threatens to sanctions Iranian arms buyers

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also reacted to the lifting of the Iran arms ban, saying the U.S. will impose sanctions on any individuals and entities that get engaged in arms transfer to and from Iran.

Arms sales to Iran would violate UN resolutions, Pompeo claimed on Sunday, adding, “The United States is prepared to use its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or entity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran.”

He also warned that “every nation that seeks peace and stability in the Middle East (West Asia) should refrain from any arms transactions with Iran.”

Navy chief terms arms bans as ‘a joke’

Meanwhile, Iran’s Navy commander said the arms bans that prevent the Navy from buying weapons are “a joke”.

“The Iranian Navy has reached a level of capability and self-sufficiency that it does not need to buy weapons and we regard the arms embargos as a joke for the Navy,” Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said, ISNA reported on Monday.

Khanzadi explained that Iran used to be dependent on buying weapons from other countries, “but today, I say confidently that in the Navy, the fact that the arms embargo has been lifted is not an important issue.”

The remarks came a day after Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif congratulated the international community over defiance of “malign U.S. efforts” to extend an arms embargo on Iran, saying Iran’s defense cooperation with the world is a win for the cause of multilateralism and peace and security in our region.

“A momentous day for the international community, which— in defiance of malign US efforts—has protected UNSC Res. 2231 and JCPOA,” Zarif tweeted on Sunday morning.

“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,” he added.