MOSCOW (Dispatches) -- Russia says it will consider military technical cooperation with Iran in line with mutual interests after a UN arms embargo on Tehran expires.
"We are convinced that all possibilities stemming from the expiration of the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 that are linked with military technical cooperation with Iran will be duly taken into account and used on the basis of mutual benefit and in the interests of the peoples of our two states,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
She was referring to the resolution that endorsed a multilateral 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers, including Russia.
Zakharova said all parties to talks about Iran’s nuclear program were aware from the very beginning that there is no link between restrictions on weapons supplies to Tehran and the settlement of issues pertaining to its nuclear program.
She said the United Nations Security Council did not impose a weapons embargo on Iran in 2015, but the country "voluntarily undertook a number of restrictions.”
"It was done in the interests of the soonest successful outcome of the talks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to settle the situation around the Iranian nuclear program,” the Russian diplomat said.
She noted that the term of the corresponding provisions has expired.
Zakharova also stressed that Iran is a "reliable partner” for Russia in many areas of cooperation.
On August 14, the UN Security Council almost unanimously refused to support a U.S.-sponsored draft resolution on extending the arms embargo against Iran, which is due to expire on October 18 under the JCPOA.
During the 15-member Security Council vote, the U.S. received support only from the Dominican Republic for its anti-Iran resolution, leaving it far short of the minimum nine ‘yes’ votes required for adoption.
The following month, Washington suffered another embarrassing loss as it failed to trigger the so-called snapback provision in the JCPOA aimed at re-imposing all UN sanctions against Iran.
The UN Security Council member states challenged U.S. rationale that it was still a participant state to the nuclear accord, citing its unilateral withdrawal in May 2018.
Speaking during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country will be free to trade weapons as of Sunday after the United States failed in its attempts to secure an extension of the embargo.
An Iranian diplomat said Friday the country has "many friends” and partners to start trading in armaments with them in line with its national interests.
"Iran has many friends and trading partners, and has a robust domestic arms industry to ensure its defense requirements against foreign aggression,” Iran’s UN mission spokesman Alireza Miryousefi told Newsweek.
Miryousefi added, "It is abundantly clear that the UN—and the overwhelming majority of its member states—reject the U.S.’ so-called maximum pressure policy on Iran,” and that "its attempts to even further violate the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231 have led to its isolation.”
Although Iran has not yet formally announced any specific country to start trading arms, Miryousefi said Tehran had options beginning on Sunday.
Iran’s Ambassador to Moscow Kazem Jalali also said Tehran will use "with prudence” the opportunity that will be provided by the expiration of a decade-old United Nations arms embargo.
"Iran will definitely cooperate with interested countries in the technical-military field and in the procurement of equipment it needs,” he told Russia Interfax news agency.
"There will be no limitation for us and we will use this issue with prudence,” he added.
The Iranian diplomat emphasized that the country has devised plans for military cooperation, which would be implemented at an appropriate time.
Iran, he said, has suffered hardship in obtaining weapons and military equipment over the past decades, including the time when former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein imposed a war on the country in the 1980s.
"This is the reason that we have increased our capability in the fields of producing military armaments and war equipment and we are completely self-sufficient in many industries.”