Iran has been stepping up the amount of military hardware it purchases from Russia and China in the weeks since the nuclear accord with world powers, according to a new report that has tracked the Islamic Republic’s procurement of advanced weapons and technology.
As it gears up to receive more than $100 billion in sanctions relief under the deal, Iran has already begun to ink lucrative arms contracts with the Russian and Chinese governments, according to a new report by the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC).
Iran’s defense budget, some $14 billion annually, is set to grow by at least a third as a result of the sanctions relief, which experts worry could also be used to fund the fledgling nuclear programs of other nations.
While the Obama administration has touted the deal’s ability to rein in Tehran’s rogue nuclear work, experts tapped by AFPC continue to express concern that Iran will use its newfound international legitimacy to hide a clandestine nuclear weapons program in a proxy country, such as North Korea.
“In anticipation of the sanctions relief flowing from the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], Iran’s leaders are preparing for a period of sustained strategic expansion,” according to the AFPC’s report.
“In the Islamic Republic’s Sixth Development Plan, formally unveiled on June 30, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei outlined plans for a number of martial measures.”
These priorities include the “expansion of the national defense budget to five percent of GDP, as well as an upgrade of defense capabilities as a hedge against ‘all forms of external threats,’ with a particular emphasis on the strengthening of the Iranian regime’s ballistic missile arsenal,” according to the report.
Source: Business Insider
BDST: 1740 HRS, NOV 20, 2019