UN Lifts Arms Embargo on Iran Imposed Since 2007

Clay Curtis
October 18, 2020

Despite last-moment attempts by the United States to prevent the embargo from being lifted, the rest of the UN Security Council refused to extend it beyond the timeline set by the Iran nuclear deal.

The warning came in response to a gleeful statement by Tehran declaring that the longstanding United Nations embargo on arms trade with the Islamic Republic has expired effective October 18 under the terms of the UN resolution that confirmed the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

But the United States has been stepping up pressure on Iran.

Tensions concerning arms control between Washington and Tehran have soared ever since.

Tehran said it could now purchase weapons from Russia, China and elsewhere, hailing the development as a diplomatic victory over its enemy, the United States.

Although Tehran tends to exaggerate its weapons capabilities, concerns remain about its long-range ballistic missile program which contributed to Washington leaving the Iran nuclear deal in 2018. "Unconventional arms, weapons of mass destruction and a buying spree of conventional arms have no place in Iran's defense doctrine", said a Foreign Ministry statement carried by state media.

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It was "a momentous day for the worldwide community", the Iranian ministry said Sunday, adding the world had stood with Tehran "in defiance of the U.S. regime's efforts". America's European allies argued that because of Mr. Trump's exit from the deal, Washington has no basis to try to reimpose sanctions.

Sunday's expiration of the arms embargo was, in fact, the proximate cause for the US decision last month to move forward with the "snapback" of global sanctions in Iran.

In case of measures amounting to a "material breach of the resolution and the purposes" of the deal, Iran reserved "the right to take any necessary countermeasures to secure its national interests".

Last week, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said during a news conference in Tehran the arms embargo will end on October 18 despite US efforts to block it.

"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", Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter.

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