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Iran’s arms embargo has now expired and Tehran has said they are once again free to buy and sell conventional weapons. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA, enforced a 13-year ban on arms sales and was part of a sanctions relief programme so that Iran would halt its nuclear development. Following its expiry, Tehran has said it will sell weapons to countries that “won’t misuse them”.
It said it will only sell to those nations that wish to use the weapons for strictly defensive purposes.
Now Washington has threatened to impose economic sanctions on any country that buys Iranian weapons.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in a statement on Sunday said: “For the past 10 years, countries have refrained from selling weapons to Iran under various UN measures.
“Any country that now challenges this prohibition will be very clearly choosing to fuel conflict and tension over promoting peace and security.
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“Any nation that sells weapons to Iran is impoverishing the Iranian people by enabling the regime’s diversion of funds away from the people and toward the regime’s military aims.”
Mr Pompeo suggested Russia, China and other nations could rush to sell advanced weapons to Tehran.
Iran has since hit back and said the new threats show the futility of US action and rhetoric on sanctions.
On Monday a spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh said: “Pompeo’s remarks are the most important sign that not even he believes unilateral US sanctions have been successful, and no UN sanctions have been reinstated.
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“Iran continues to believe it can operate within the framework of international agreements.
“What they fear is Iran’s return to the massive market of technology and arms exports.
“Iran produces 90 percent of its defence needs locally and will mostly look to export arms rather than import them.
“Unlike the Americans, we wouldn’t do just about everything for money.”
A statement from Iran’s foreign ministry added that the nation would not create “unconventional arms, weapons of mass destruction”.
It also said a “buying spree of conventional arms has no place” in the country’s arms manufacturing sector.
A separate European ban on arms deals with Iran will remain in place until 2023.
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