Iran’s defence minister says the country is capable of producing 90 percent of its defence needs domestically, and that is a bitter pill to swallow for Washington.
Brigadier General Amir Hatami said Iran has developed such capability on the back of self-sufficiency.
“When we came under sanctions during the Holy Defence era (the eight years of the Iraqi-imposed war on Iran in the 1980s), we adopted a strategy and realized the importance of self-reliance given [other countries’] refusal to sell arms to us,” said the defence chief in a televised interview on Sunday night.
“We need to rely on ourselves in order to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity,” he said.
The top general underlined that US sanctions turned out to be an opportunity for Iran to stand on its own feet.
“The pressure and sanctions imposed on us by the US for years led us to move, so much so that we can now produce and provide 90 percent of our defence needs inside the country,” he said.
General Hatami said Iran’s defence capabilities are a bitter pill to swallow for Washington.
“It is very hard for the Americans to see Iran has developed such a capability,” he said.
The senior commander said the White House has tried its utmost to strip Iran of its legitimate rights.
He underscored the US had been trying over the past year to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran, which expired on October 18, 2020.
“The Americans asked the UN Security Council repeatedly to keep the restrictions in place or impose new restrictions, but they were discredited,” said the defence chief.
“Today, all bans on weapons sales were lifted and we are authorized to procure whatever we need in the world legally and in accordance with the UN Security Council’s approval, and we can also provide other countries with what they need,” he noted.
Hatami said despite the US and its arms-producing allies which only think about profit, Iran will sell weapons only to those who do not abuse it, and those who are despised by the US.
“Many countries have already talked to us; we have held negotiations with some countries, and the grounds are totally prepared for exchanges [of weapons], both for selling [arms to other countries] and for supplying certain needs [buying weapons],” he noted.
“Of course our sales will be much more extensive [than our purchases],” he added.
General Hatami said all nations have the right to defend their territorial integrity, and Iran will be a good and successful actor in this regard as it seeks to preserve peace.
He said Iran’s goal is first to become self-sufficient and powerful in terms of defensive capabilities, and second to support the countries that seek to defend their existence.
Meanwhile, he gave an assurance to regional countries that the Islamic Republic wants peace, stability and security for the region and the world. “This is the clear defense policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“You can’t find any move against this policy in the past four decades …. Wherever we took action, it was meant to create peace, help establish security and stability in the region. We honestly showed it to the entire world in the course of fight against the terrorists trained by the Americans,” Hatami said.