The embargo on the sale of arms to Iran was due to start expiring progressively from Sunday, under the terms of the UN resolution that blessed the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic republic and world powers.

An IRGC officer looks through binoculars on a boat in coastal water during the annual military parade in Bandar Abbas, Iran September 22, 2019.
An IRGC officer looks through binoculars on a boat in coastal water during the annual military parade in Bandar Abbas, Iran September 22, 2019. (Reuters Archive)

A longstanding UN embargo on arms sales to and from Iran has expired early on Sunday in line with a 2015 landmark nuclear deal, the Iranian foreign ministry said.

"As of today, all restrictions on the transfer of arms, related activities and financial services to and from the Islamic Republic of Iran ... are all automatically terminated," the ministry said in a statement.

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'No arms buying spree in horizon'

The embargo on the sale of arms to Iran was due to start expiring progressively from Sunday, October 18, under the terms of the UN resolution that blessed the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic republic and world powers.

"As of today, the Islamic Republic may procure any necessary arms and equipment from any source without any legal restrictions, and solely based on its defensive needs," the ministry added in the statement sent out on Twitter.

It insisted that under the terms of the deal, struck with the United States, China, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the European Union, "the lifting of arms restrictions and the travel ban were designed to be automatic with no other action required."

On the same day the UN decision of lifting the arms embargo, Iran said it is self-dependant in defence and sees no arms buying spree.

"Iran’s defence doctrine is premised on strong reliance on its people and indigenous capabilities ... Unconventional arms, weapons of mass destruction and a buying spree of conventional arms have no place in Iran's defence doctrine," said the ministry cited by state media.

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No change in US stance

US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the deal in 2018 and has unilaterally begun reimposing sanctions on Iran.

But Washington suffered a setback in August when it failed to win support from the United Nations Security Council to indefinitely extend the arms embargo.

Despite pulling out of the deal, the Trump administration insists it is still a "participant" and can therefore go ahead with reimposing sanctions.

READ MORE: Iran's Rouhani says no talks with US unless sanctions lifted

'Normalisation of cooperation'

Washington has said it has decided to unilaterally reinstate virtually all of the UN sanctions on Iran lifted under the accord.

But the US legal argument has been rejected by almost the entire UN Security Council, with European allies of the United States saying the priority is to salvage a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear programme.

Moscow said in September that it was ready to boost its military cooperation with Tehran, while Beijing has also spoken of its willingness to sell arms to Iran after October 18.

Washington maintained it will seek to prevent Iran from purchasing Chinese tanks and Russian air defence systems.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in a tweet that the international community had "protected" the nuclear deal and Sunday marked the "normalisation of Iran's cooperation with the world".

Source: TRTWorld and agencies