Speaking to Tehran-based 'Iran' newspaper in an interview published on Saturday, Brigadier General Amir Hatami said the Islamic Republic is among the handful of countries which can indigenously manufacture more than 90 percent of its military needs.
“We will surely be able to export more military equipment than we need to import,” he said, Press TV wrote.
“Therefore, we will surely use our legal right [to sell arms] in dealing with our allies once the restrictions are lifted,” he said.
The arms restrictions are to be lifted as part of Security Council Resolution 2231, which has endorsed the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal.
The US led a failed bid to extend the arms restriction on Iran in August.
Iran has faced widespread economic sanctions and arms bans ever since it overthrew the country’s US-backed regime during the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
In the midst of Iraq’s 1980-1988 invasion of Iran and the country’s lack of crucial military equipment, the defense industry was one of the first and most critically targeted sectors by the bans.
Despite being heavily impaired by the absence of US assistance and equipment – which formed the backbone of Iran’s pre-revolutionary military – Iran’s defense industries were quick to adapt and begin local production of defense-related needs.
The country has consequently managed to produce a wide array of hardware over the years, including its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles, radars, boats, submarines, unmanned aerial vehicles, and fighter jets.
Hatami elaborated on some of the Defense Ministry’s latest achievements.
The minister said Iran is currently focusing on increasing the quantity and quality of its missiles, “specifically their maneuverability and variety, in a way that can surprise enemy air defenses”.
Iran’s land and seaborne cruise missiles, he said, can attain ranges of 1,000 and 1,400km respectively. He added that the range of Iran’s airborne cruise missiles will soon reach 1,000km.
Speaking about Iran’s newly-delivered Kowsar fighter jet, the defense minister said despite similarities in appearance to the F-5 fighter plane, Kowsar is a completely indigenously-designed and upgraded plane.
“Its main difference compared to the F-5 is in its optical and navigation systems which puts it on par with more advanced fighter jet generations,” he said.
Assisting nonmilitary industries
In separate reports, Iranian media on Saturday quoted Hatami as saying the country has produced more than 38,000 military-grade gear parts as part of the ministry’s pioneering push toward industry indigenization.
Hatami added that “the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran have made many attempts to weaken Iran, one of which is by forcing our factories to shut down” by seeking to restrict Iran’s access to spare parts on the international market.
“One of the initiatives which has been vigorously pursued is the production of spare parts for various civil industries,” the minister said.
Making the remarks on the sidelines of an exhibition showcasing thousands of gear parts produced by the ministry, Hatami said the defense sector "has been a pioneering force in this regard since it faced sanctions earlier than other sectors”.
Amid US attempts to impose crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy, the Defense Ministry has sought to assist the country’s economic needs, notably in the production of critical industrial equipment such as in the automobile industry.
With the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran and facing US sanctions, the defense sector also stepped in to provide assistance producing medical masks, ventilators, tests kits and other material needed to fight the pandemic.