Iran says no need for European arms, will buy weapons from Russia, China
Iran’s foreign minister says the country will meet its strategic needs by purchasing weapons from Russia and China, and has no need for European weapons once the UN embargo is lifted in October.
According to Press TV, Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks in a televised interview on Saturday night in reaction to a possible initiative by France, Germany, and the UK to restrict the sale of weapons to Iran following the October expiration of the UN arms embargo against the Islamic Republic.
“We haven’t been a customer of European weapons, and they haven’t sold us weapons after the 1979 revolution. … They even ran a campaign during the 1980s Iraqi-imposed war on Iran to prevent the delivery of arms to the Islamic Republic,” Zarif said.
“We won’t force them to sell us weapons now, as we don’t need their weapons,” he noted.
Zarif said one-fourth of the arms purchases end up in the Persian Gulf region, while Iran is not part of this trade.
“However, Iran can meet its strategic needs through the countries it interacts with, like Russia and China; though it is self-sufficient in many cases, and is an exporter [of arms] itself,” Zarif said.
Thanks to God’s grace and the efforts of the country’s Armed Forces, “Iran has become self-sufficient in many cases, but in cases of need, other countries will have the right to trade with Iran once the UN embargo is lifted,” the Iranian top diplomat added.
Following a humiliating failure at the UN Security Council to secure an extension of the arms embargo against Iran, the United States recently threatened to use its “secondary” sanctions to block any arms trades with Tehran after the expiry of the UN ban next month.
US Special Representative for Venezuela and Iran Elliott Abrams claimed on Wednesday that Washington could deny access to the US market to anyone who trades in weapons with Tehran.
Sanctions “will have a very significant impact” on arms manufacturers and traders that seek to do business with Tehran, he told reporters.
The US initiative is expected to prevent European companies from selling weapons and military equipment to Iran.
'Europe trying to save face after failure against US'
Zarif further pointed to the recent statement by France, Germany, and the UK in which they claimed they have “gone beyond their own commitments” towards Iran by launching the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a European mechanism which was supposed to facilitate trade with Iran amid the US sanctions.
“They are joking. The three self-proclaimed world powers failed to stand up to the US bullying. They failed, even though they may not have made so much efforts,” he said.
“Europeans had 11 commitments to fulfill, and the INSTEX was not even one of them, but a prerequisite for them. They failed to fulfill them and said Americans didn’t let them. If we accept their own words, they admitted Americans have kept them [from doing their part].”
“This is below Europe’s dignity. The economy of the European Union is bigger than America’s. Then why did you fail to resist the US’ bullying, which is now impacting you?” Zarif said, adding that the European statement is just meant to save their face.
His comments came in reaction to a statement by France, Germany and the UK delivered to the IAEA Board of Governors at the September 2020 meeting.
They said in the statement, "The E3 has worked hard to preserve the [2015 nuclear] agreement. We have gone beyond our own commitments to facilitate legitimate trade with Iran, including by introducing the INSTEX mechanism."
‘Iran not to interfere in US elections’
In his Saturday interview, Zarif also denied the claim that the Islamic Republic is going to interfere in the upcoming US presidential elections.
“Despite Donald Trump’s claim that Iran is waiting for another person, these remarks only serve electoral purposes,” Zarif said.
“Iran is an independent country and does not meddle in US internal affairs,” he added.
Zarif said the US should first try to avoid plotting coup and violating people’s choice in other countries before accusing Iran of interfering in its elections.
He made the remarks in an apparent allusion to the CIA-orchestrated 1953 coup in Iran, which toppled the democratically-elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.
‘Israel would defend itself had it possess enough power’
Zarif further referred to the recent deals signed by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize their relations with the Israeli regime in the hope that Tel Aviv could bring them peace and security.
“Our neighbors unfortunately think the regime can defend them. If Israel had such a power, it would have defended itself against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas,” Zarif said.
He expressed regret that a regional country is forced to sign a deal with Israel so that Trump can use it for his presidential campaign.
“This happens when a country depends on the US for its defense,” Zarif said.
Bahrain and the UAE signed US-brokered normalization agreements with Israel during a ceremony in Washington on Tuesday.
The controversial event was slammed by many Arab and Muslim figures as a blatant betrayal of the Palestinian cause.