Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there will be no ban on the sales of weapons to Iran after a United Nations arms embargo on the Islamic Republic expires next month.
“There is no such thing as an arms embargo against Iran,” Lavrov told Al Arabiya TV news channel in an interview released on Tuesday.
Lavrov said a UN Security Council resolution adopted to endorse Iran’s nuclear deal in 2015 says that “on the 18th October 2020 this regime of sales to Iran would stop and there is no embargo and there would no limitations whatsoever after the expiration of this timeframe”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month that Washington would prevent Tehran from purchasing Chinese tanks and Russian air defense systems as it failed to win support for a new UN resolution to extend the UN arms embargo.
The administration of US President Donald Trump says it is "snapping back" virtually all UN sanctions on Iran lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers negotiated by former US president Barack Obama.
Trump pulled out of the deal with fanfare in 2018, but Pompeo argues that the United States is still a "participant" in the deal – with the right to impose sanctions for violations.
The 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 program.
Lavrov said the Americans say “many funny things” when they claim to be still a participant in Iran’s nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“I can only remind them that they should respect the hierarchy in the American administration because their boss, President Trump personally signed an official decree dropping the United States from the JCPOA, any say which the Americans used to have as equal participants of the JCPOA has evaporated since then,” the top Russian diplomat said.
Lavrov said unilateral sanctions that are not provided by the United Nations Charter are “absolutely illegitimate”.
The United States on Monday imposed new sanctions on Iran’s Defense Ministry and others involved in its nuclear and missile program.
Russia-Iran military cooperation
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax on Tuesday that US sanctions against Iran would have no political or practical consequences for Moscow’s cooperation with Tehran.
Ryabkov said Russia will develop military cooperation with Iran after the UN arms embargo on the Islamic Republic expires.
"New opportunities will emerge in our cooperation with Iran after the special regime imposed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231 expires on October 18."
"The amount of this cooperation and the areas in which it will develop is a separate question," he added.
Ryabkov said any agreements with Iran would have "nothing to do with the unlawful and illegal actions of the US administration, which is trying to intimidate the entire world".
AFP and Reuters contributed to this story.