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Russia Stands Against Extension Of Arms Embargo On Iran

By Orkhan Jalilov July 23, 2020

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a joint press conference in Moscow, July 22. / IRNA news agency

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has reaffirmed his country's opposition to extending arms embargo on Iran, despite the attempts of the U.S.

"The UN Security Council did not impose an arms embargo in the full sense of this word against the Islamic Republic of Iran," Lavrov made the remarks in a press conference with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on July 22. "The Security Council introduced a permissive regime for the supply of certain types of weapons to Iran, this regime is applied for a limited period of time, this period expires in October, and any attempts to somehow take advantage of the current situation, to extend this regime, and then introduce an indefinite arms embargo, have no legal grounds, neither political nor moral."

The Russian minister said that the relevant article in the Security Council Resolution 2231 is not only enacted provisionally but also it is a gesture of goodwill by Iran and part of the agreement that has nothing to do with Iran's nuclear program. “For the same reason Russia's stance is clear and opposes any attempt in the field”, Lavrov added, according to the Russian TASS news agency.

The U.S. intends to use the capacity of the Resolution 2231 for extending arms embargo on Iran. Currently, Iran is not allowed to sell or buy weapons based on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known also as the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal with the global powers. Zarif’s visit comes days after the Iranian nuclear deal marked its fifth anniversary on 14 July.

The JCPOA has been in crisis since May 2018, when the United States unilaterally withdrew from it and reintroduced sanctions on Tehran. The Iranian nuclear agreement addresses an end to the arms embargo on October 18, 2020, therefore, Washington is seeking to extend a UN arms embargo on the Caspian country.

"We are convinced that chances to get the JCPOA back on sustainable track are still in place. At least, we and our Iranian friends are sparing no effort for that. We see that China sticks to the same positions and the European signatories to the JCPOA continue to show interest in that," Lavrov told Zarif during the meeting.

Earlier, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali announced in an interview with the Russian Kommersant newspaper that Iran is interested in buying new Russian weapons to enhance its defense capacities.

"We will hold consultations with Russia on what we need to enhance our defense capacities. The Russian government and the Russian people have always been by our side in times of trouble. Russia is our priority partner in this sense," Jalali said on July 21.

"I believe it’s high time we created a club of countries hit by sanctions. Among its members will be many strong powers with developed economies: Russia, China, and Iran," the diplomat said, adding that such states should help each other in order to offset the negative influence of US steps.

During his visit to Moscow, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif referred to an Iranian plan to extend Tehran-Moscow 20-year cooperation agreement, saying that in addition to renewing the current agreement Tehran has an offer for another "long term accord" with Moscow if the Russian government voices readiness.

He noted that the relations between Russia and Iran are of a strategic nature, adding that in the current situation, there is a necessity for regular talks between both states.

The twenty-year agreement between the two countries was signed in March 2001 in Moscow by the Iranian and Russian presidents, Mohammad Khatami and Vladimir Putin, accordingly.