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Is Iran becoming a major regional arms producer?

If the current trajectory of arms deliveries continues, it appears that countries such as Iran, Russia and China are set to become the Middle East’s main weapons suppliers.
EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri (R) looks at weapons with Iran's Defense Minister Mohammad Najar (2nd R) at a military exhibition in Tehran November 28, 2010. REUTERS/Ministry of Defence/Vahid Reza Alaei/Handout (IRAN - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A

TEHRAN, Iran — 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.

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