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 imposed war [between Iran and Iraq] to prevent the delivery of arms to Iran,” 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.