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UN arms embargoes on Iran expire despite U.S. objections

Tai Hai Chen

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The Islamic Republic heralded the end of the arms embargo as "a momentous day for the international community ... in defiance of the U.S. regime's effort." The Trump administration, meanwhile, says the expiration is moot since it reimposed all UN sanctions on Iran, including the arms embargo, via a clause in the nuclear deal Trump withdrew from in 2018, a claim ignored by the rest of the world.


"Today's normalization of Iran's defenceco-operation with the world is a win for the cause of multilateralism and peace and security in our region," Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter.


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flatly rejected the expiration.


"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, as well as those who provide technical training, financial support and services, and other assistance related to these arms," he said in a statement.


"For the past 10 years, countries have refrained from selling weapons to Iran under various U.N. measures," Pompeo said. "Any country that now challenges this prohibition will be very clearly choosing to fuel conflict and tension over promoting peace and security."


Sunday's expiration of the arms embargo was, in fact, the proximate cause for the U.S. decision last month to move forward with the so-called "snapback" of international sanctions in Iran. The Americans tried unsuccessfully to get the UN Security Council to extend the embargo but suffered a humiliating defeat when only one country on the 15-member panel supported it.


In response, the administration announced that it had invoked "snapback" -- a mechanism provided for in the Security Council resolution that enshrined the nuclear deal that allows any participant in the accord to restore UN sanctions if they determine Iran is not complying with its terms. The rest of the council, however, rejected U.S. standing to trigger snapback, saying it had lost its right to do so when Trump pulled our of the deal.


The United Nations banned Iran from buying major foreign weapon systems in 2010 amid tensions over its nuclear program. An earlier embargo targeted Iranian arms exports.


The U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency predicted in 2019 that if the embargo ended, Iran likely would try to purchase Russian Su-30 fighter jets, Yak-130 trainer aircraft and T-90 tanks. Tehran also may try to buy Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft missile system and its Bastian coastal defence missile system, the DIA said. China also could sell Iran arms.


Iran long has been outmatched by U.S.-backed Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have purchased billions of dollars of advanced American weaponry. In response, Tehran turned toward developing locally made ballistic missiles.


Iran has blasted Gulf Arab purchases of U.S.-made defence equipment as "regrettably lucrative weapon deals" with some of those arms used in the ongoing war in Yemen. That conflict pits a Saudi-led coalition backing the country's internationally recognized government against rebel forces backed by Iran.


The UN arms embargoes, however, did not stop Iran from sending weapons ranging from assault rifles to ballistic missiles to Yemen's Houthi rebels. While Tehran denies arming the Houthis, Western governments and weapons experts repeatedly have linked Iranian arms to the rebels.


Six Gulf Arab nations that backed the extension of the arms embargoes noted arms shipments to Yemen in their objection to the resumption of any weapon sales to Iran. They also mentioned in a letter to the UN Security Council that Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane in January and its navy accidentally killed 19 of its own sailors in a missile strike during an exercise. The UN also linked Iran to a 2019 attack on Saudi Arabia's main crude oil refinery, though Tehran denies any links and Yemen's rebel Houthis claimed responsibility.


Sunday also marked the end of UN travel bans on a number of Iranian military and paramilitary Revolutionary Guard members.


Tensions between Iran and the U.S. reached fever pitch at the start of the year, when an American drone killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad. Tehran retaliated with a ballistic missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq that injured dozens. Meanwhile, Iran has steadily broken limits of the nuclear deal in an attempt to pressure Europe at salvaging the accord.


In recent months, provocations on both sides have slowed as President Donald Trump faces a re-election campaign against former Vice-President Joe Biden. Biden has said he's willing to offer Iran "a credible path back to diplomacy" if Tehran returns to "strict compliance" with the deal.
Now Iran can export Mohajer 6 attack drones to Cyprus, Syria, Libya, Armenia and really hurt Iran's rival Turkey.


 

Ali_Baba

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It will be interesting to see what Iran buys first. There will be few takes for Irans products on the market place. They seem to have done with Drones, and guided missiles to a high standard. The rest of their stuff less so.

I think, Iran needs to pay attention to her airforce, more than any other service right now.

Lets see.
 

PakFactor

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It will be interesting to see what Iran buys first. There will be few takes for Irans products on the market place. They seem to have done with Drones, and guided missiles to a high standard. The rest of their stuff less so.

I think, Iran needs to pay attention to her airforce, more than any other service right now.

Lets see.
It might be expired or expiring, but you can't bet within few months they've punish Iran and it's industries again.
 

Philosopher

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It will be interesting to see what Iran buys first. There will be few takes for Irans products on the market place. They seem to have done with Drones, and guided missiles to a high standard. The rest of their stuff less so.

I think, Iran needs to pay attention to her airforce, more than any other service right now.

Lets see.
Airforce is the only candidate for muti-billion dollar contracts. Everything else from the UAVs and missiles that you stated, to Air defence, radars, submarines etc are also at high levels. Navy and ground forces have their own ambitious projects, but will need funding. Hence, minus a one/two time large purchase of fighter jets to bring Iran's airforce into modernity, rest of funding will go into Iran's indigenous platforms.
 

skyshadow

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It will be interesting to see what Iran buys first. There will be few takes for Irans products on the market place. They seem to have done with Drones, and guided missiles to a high standard. The rest of their stuff less so.

I think, Iran needs to pay attention to her airforce, more than any other service right now.

Lets see.
i would say Iranian air defense systems are much much more advance then our drones.
 

skyshadow

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It will be interesting to see what Iran buys first. There will be few takes for Irans products on the market place. They seem to have done with Drones, and guided missiles to a high standard. The rest of their stuff less so.

I think, Iran needs to pay attention to her airforce, more than any other service right now.

Lets see.
and navy , lets say Pakistan needs a +6000 tons destroyer there is no obstacles that Iran would face to build it for PK navy, we have the 360 degrees radar +200 km, VLS ( vertical launch system ) , we have its sonar, it will have 200+ km long range air defense , stealth armed drones on it with 2000 km range , engines no problem , modern design, long range +1300 km anti ship cruise missiles up to 2500 km land attack cruise missiles, CIWS system , its main gun, powerful torpedoes
 

Yasser76

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Only Russia and China will sell to Iran, EU maintains it's own embargo seperate to UN one and of course no US ally like South Korea or Canada will sell to Iran. Do not expect Pakistan to either.

Russia may also be reluctant as it is getting quite a few $$$ from GCC now.

All in all, even if embargo has been lifted do not expect to see massive upgrade in Iranian arsenal. Russia may sell some SU-30s and MIG-29s bit nothing top line. China could be their best bet, so possibly high end J-10C, ships etc
 

Pandora

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No one will sell weapons to them as long as Americans keep up sanctions from their end. Russia will be a willing seller so let see how it goes for them. China was reluctant to sell weapons previously bcz of sanctions but sold some tech under the table.
 

Tai Hai Chen

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Iran is quite sufficient in drones. What they need are manned jet which require high tech engines. Su-30 and J-10 are more than sufficient. Arabs are busy fighting Turks. Iran is not in their crosshair.
 

Ali_Baba

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I think the best option for Iran will be J10CEs. Russia may well sell some systems, but their capability will be capped, be it by numbers or operational abilities of those systems.
 

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