Iran announces end to 10-year UN arms embargo

Iran announced on Sunday that a 10-year arms embargo by the UN Security Council had come to an end under the terms of a 2015 nuclear deal that it signed with world powers, dpa reported. "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," the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement after the announcement.

 

"As of today [October 18], all restrictions on the arms trade will end ... so that Iran can import and export all necessary military equipment again," the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a press statement published by local media.

Arms sales to Iran are however regarded as illegal by the US, which withdrew from the nuclear accord, weakening it to breaking point.

In September Washington insisted unilaterally that UN sanctions against Iran must be reinstated, and has since said that any arms sales to Tehran would contravene UN Security Council resolutions.

The other veto powers in the UN Security Council and Germany argue that the US cannot force the reinstatement of sanctions because of its withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement.

President Hassan Rowhani congratulated the Iranian people on Sunday on a "diplomatic victory" over the US. The administration of US President Donald Trump had tried in vain to prevent an end to the embargo, Rowhani said on his website.

Observers in Tehran consider it unlikely that what Rowhani calls a "diplomatic victory" will lead to any new arms deals in practice. Arms trade with the West is completely out of the question for now given Trump's position, so only business with Russia and China would be possible. Russia and China are unlikely to ignore the concerns of the West, the Arab world and especially Israel regarding Iran's military programme and Tehran's controversial Middle East policy.

Iran has always maintained that its military and especially its missile programmes are only used to defend its borders and pose no threat to other countries. In the West, however, there is concern that Iranian medium-range missiles with a range of 2,000-2,200 kilometres could hit any part of arch-enemy Israel's territory.

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