Is Iran becoming a Major Regional Arms Producer?

By Abbas Qaidaari, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

The Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has been host to a special military and defense industry exhibition since March 5. Among the various countries displaying their goods, China has been particularly active. However, the perhaps most noteworthy feature of the exhibition is the strong — and official — presence of Iran’s Ministry of Defense, and the fact that a vast array of Iranian-made armaments and military equipment is being showcased.

According to Iran’s official IRNA news agency, after China, the Iranian Ministry of Defense and the Defense Industries Organization of Iran have had the strongest presence at the exhibition when it comes to equipment variety.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) stipulates that Iran will until October 2020 be barred from conventional weapons trade, without first obtaining authorization from the United Nations Security Council. Nonetheless, during the past few years, in spite of extensive sanctions on exports of conventional military equipment, Iran has managed to become self-sufficient in the production of a vast range of weapons and military equipment.

Indeed, a large portion of Iran’s military equipment is presently met by domestic production. Given this capacity, Iran appears now ready to establish a serious and effective presence in the international armament market.

In past years, both the Iraqi and Syrian governments — among the most important political and security allies of the Islamic Republic in the region — have been dealing with civil war and terrorism. As political differences emerged between the governments in Damascus and Baghdad on the one hand, and with Western countries on the other, the provision of Western military equipment to these countries was disrupted.

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