- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 18, 2020

An international arms embargo on Iran expired Sunday, marking a defeat for the Trump administration and opening the door for Tehran to potentially buy foreign weapons.

Iranian officials hailed the end of the United Nations ban, which was put in place a decade ago. The expiration, in theory, allows Iran to buy weapons from other nations and export its own products to other nations.

“A momentous day for the international community,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted. “Today’s normalization of Iran’s defense cooperation with the world is a win for the cause of multilateralism and peace and security in our region.”

Regional powers such as Saudi Arabia had publicly called for an extension of the ban, warning that its end represents a “threat to peace and stability” in the Middle East.

It’s unlikely that Iran immediately will be able to buy major new weapons systems. The U.S. still has in place major economic sanctions on Tehran, and top administration officials have warned that nations doing business with Iran could face their own financial consequences.

But Washington’s influence over the global community’s approach to Iran is waning, raising questions about whether other countries will heed the administration’s warnings. 

U.S. efforts earlier this year to extend the arms embargo failed at the U.N. A subsequent American push to reinstate all international economic sanctions on Iran also was brushed off by the rest of the world. Those sanctions that had been lifted as part of a landmark 2015 agreement that offered economic relief in exchange for Iran giving up key aspects of its nuclear weapons program.

President Trump withdrew the U.S. from that agreement in 2018. America’s European allies argued that because of Mr. Trump’s exit from the deal, Washington has no basis to try to reimpose sanctions.

Britain, France and Germany remain committed to the survival of the Iran nuclear deal.


• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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