Iran says UN arms embargo on Tehran has been lifted
Iran said a longstanding UN embargo on arms sales to and from the Islamic Republic expired on Sunday in line with a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, from which Washington withdrew.
Tehran, now able to buy weapons from Russia, China and other countries, hailed the development as a diplomatic victory over its archenemy, the United States, which had tried to freeze arms sales indefinitely.
"Starting today, all restrictions on the transfer of arms, related activities and financial services to and from the Islamic Republic of Iran will be automatically lifted," said a statement from the Foreign Ministry.
The embargo on the sale of conventional weapons to Iran should gradually expire from Sunday, October 18, in accordance with the UN resolution that blessed the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers.
"As of today, the Islamic Republic will be able to procure all weapons and equipment it needs from any source without legal restrictions and solely on the basis of its defense needs," the ministry added in the statement posted on Twitter.
She insisted that under the deal with the United States, China, Great Britain, France, Germany and Russia, "arms restrictions should be lifted and travel bans should be automatic without further action."
US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the nuclear deal in 2018 and has started unilaterally to re-impose sanctions on Iran.
But Washington suffered a setback in August when it received no support from the United Nations Security Council for an indefinite extension of the arms embargo.
- "Important day" -
It was "a significant day for the international community," the Iranian ministry said on Sunday, adding that the world stood by Tehran "despite the efforts of the US regime".
However, she stressed that "unconventional weapons, weapons of mass destruction and a conventional weapons buying frenzy have no place in Iranian defense doctrine".
Despite withdrawing from the nuclear deal, the Trump administration insists that it is still a "participant" and therefore can re-impose sanctions.
Washington has announced that it will unilaterally reintroduce virtually all of the UN sanctions against Iran that have been lifted under the agreement.
However, the US legal argument was rejected by almost the entire UN Security Council. United States' European allies said the priority is to save a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear program.
Iran urged the US to "abandon its destructive approach to Resolution 2231," adding that American attempts to "violate" the resolution "have been categorically rejected by the Security Council several times in the past three months."
The statement added that Iran "reserves the right to take all necessary countermeasures to safeguard its national interests" in any action that is "in material breach of the resolution and purposes" of the agreement.
Moscow said in September that it was ready to step up its military cooperation with Tehran, while Beijing also said it was ready to sell arms to Iran after October 18.
Washington claimed it would try to prevent Iran from buying Chinese tanks and Russian air defense systems.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet that the international community "protected" the nuclear deal and that Sunday marked the "normalization of Iranian defense cooperation with the world".
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