Iran hails lifting of UN arms embargo

Tehran can now buy ‘necessary arms’

Iran said a longstanding UN embargo on arms sales to and from the Islamic republic expired on Sunday in line with a 2015 landmark nuclear deal with world powers from which Washington has withdrawn.

Tehran, which could now purchase weapons from Russia, China and elsewhere, has hailed the development as a diplomatic victory over the U.S., which had tried to maintain an indefinite freeze on arms sales.

Defence needs

“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 Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The embargo on the sale of conventional arms to Iran was due to start expiring progressively from Sunday, October 18, under the terms of the UN resolution.

“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.

It insisted that under the terms of the deal, struck with the U.S., China, Britain, France, Germany and Russia, “the lifting of arms restrictions and the travel ban were designed to be automatic with no other action required.”

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the nuclear 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.

‘Momentous day’

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 U.S. regime’s efforts”.

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”.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday marked the “normalisation of Iran’s defense cooperation with the world”.

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