Iran: UN arms embargo on Tehran has been lifted

Above, Iranians visit a weaponry and military equipment exhibition in Tehran in this photo taken on Feb. 2, 2019. (AFP)
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Updated 18 October 2020

Iran: UN arms embargo on Tehran has been lifted

  • Tehran, which could now purchase weapons from Russia, China and elsewhere, has hailed the development as a diplomatic victory

TEHRAN: Iran said a longstanding UN embargo on arms sales to and from the Islamic republic expired Sunday in line with a 2015 landmark nuclear deal with world powers from which Washington has withdrawn.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 its arch enemy the United States, which had tried to maintain an indefinite freeze on arms sales.
“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 that blessed the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic republic and world powers.
“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 sent out on Twitter.
It insisted that under the terms of the deal, struck with the United States, 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.”
US 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.
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 US 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.”
Despite pulling out of the nuclear deal, the Trump administration insists it is still a “participant” and can therefore go ahead with reimposing sanctions.
Washington has said it has decided to unilaterally reinstate virtually all of the UN sanctions on Iran lifted under the accord.
But the US legal argument has been rejected by almost the entire UN Security Council, with European allies of the United States saying the priority is to salvage a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran urged the US to “abandon its destructive approach vis-a-vis Resolution 2231,” adding that American attempts to “violate” the resolution had been “categorically rejected several times in the past three months by the Security Council.”
The statement added that in the case of measures amounting to a “material breach of the resolution and the purposes” of the deal, Iran “reserves the right to take any necessary countermeasures to secure its national interests.”
Moscow said in September that it was ready to boost its military cooperation with Tehran, while Beijing has also spoken of its willingness to sell arms to Iran after October 18.
Washington maintained it will seek to prevent Iran from purchasing Chinese tanks and Russian air defense systems.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet that the international community had “protected” the nuclear deal and Sunday marked the “normalization of Iran’s defense cooperation with the world.”


Iran breaks its record for most new coronavirus cases in one day

Updated 20 October 2020

Iran breaks its record for most new coronavirus cases in one day

  • Iran, which emerged early on as an epicenter of the virus, has seen its worst wave of deaths from the illness in recent weeks
TEHRAN: Iran on Tuesday reported its highest single-day toll of new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic with more than 5,000 new infections, as the country struggles to cope with a surge in transmission.
Iran’s health ministry also reported that 322 people had died from the virus, pushing the death toll over 31,000. The new infection count on Tuesday eclipsed the previous high of 4,830 last week, shining a light on the nation’s floundering efforts to combat the virus.
Iran, which emerged early on as an epicenter of the virus, has seen its worst wave of deaths from the illness in recent weeks. Monday’s death toll shattered its previous single-day record, prompting state news outlets to declare it a “black day.”
Hospitals in the hard-hit capital of Tehran are overflowing. Last week, health officials announced that the city had run out of intensive care beds for virus patients.
The increase comes after Iranians packed cafes and restaurants at vacation spots during recent national holidays, and after schools reopened for in-person instruction last month.
The government has resisted a total lockdown because it does not want to further weaken an economy already devastated by unprecedented US sanctions. The Trump administration re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran after withdrawing in 2018 from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers.
With the death toll skyrocketing, authorities are now starting to impose more restrictions. The government closed museums, libraries, beauty salons, schools and universities in Tehran earlier this month, and imposed a mask mandate outdoors.