Thanks to the appeasement policies of the Biden and Obama Administrations, the ruling mullahs of Iran, called by the US State Department the top state sponsor of terrorism, have now also emerged as a major arms exporter. Moreover, coupled with imminent nuclear bombs, they appear determined to ramp up their exports even further.
"Introducing the Islamic Republic's defense and military capabilities and sharing them [with friendly countries] can expand the country's defense relations and strengthen deterrence," the Iranian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, recently bragged to Iran's state-controlled Mehr News at a gathering of Foreign Ministry officials and ambassadors in Tehran.
"The Iranian Armed Forces are fully prepared to upgrade the level of ties in various fields, including the wholesale export of defense and military equipment as well as training, exercises, and the practical transfer of experience."
Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, echoed a similar message. He pointed out that Iran has "no restriction" on exporting military equipment to other countries, including Venezuela.
"The future world is a different world. The new world order geometry is altering with the emergence of several new powers, particularly in Asia and in different fields."
Iran currently possesses the largest and most diverse ballistic missile program in the Middle East. No country other than Iran has acquired long-range ballistic missiles before obtaining nuclear weapons. While ballistic missiles can be used for either offensive or defensive purposes, the sophisticated ones are mainly developed as delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons.
According to John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the US National Security Council:
"As of May, Russia received hundreds of one-way attack [unmanned aerial vehicles], as well as UAV production-related equipment, from Iran. We are releasing a graphic that shows how Iranian drones are being transferred to Russia: the drones are built in Iran, shipped across the Caspian Sea... and then used operationally by Russian forces against Ukraine. Russia and Iran's actions are violations of their obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 2231 by participating in these transfers of drones from Iran to Russia without UN Security Council approval."
The regime's rise as an exporter of weapons seems to have begun with then President Barack Obama's 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal. Among the many rewards that the Obama Administration offered to the Iranian regime was one setting October 18, 2020 as the date when the arms embargo on Iran would be removed and allowing the regime to export, import, buy and sell weapons legally, however it might wish. The arms embargo had been previously placed on Iran by the five members of the UN Security Council in 2007, during the Bush administration. The embargo encompassed a wide range of weapons, including large-caliber artillery, drones, combat aircraft, battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, attack helicopters, missiles, missile launchers and warships.
The second gift to the ruling mullahs of Iran is the presidency of Joe Biden. The Biden Administration's obsequious leadership and the removal of the arms embargo may well have emboldened the Iranian regime to ratchet up its import and export of weapons.
Iran's ruling mullahs are also currently boasting that China is another customer for their weapons. "Our power has grown to levels where China is waiting in line to buy 15,000 of our drones," a senior official from Iran's Intelligence Ministry recently said at the Imam Khomeini International University in Qazvin. "Since the day we turned to the East," he added, "the West could not bear it and an example was the war in Ukraine."
"Today we have reached a point that 22 world countries are demanding to purchase unmanned aircraft from Iran," Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi proclaimed at Imam Hussein Military University in Tehran.
"Russia also wants Iran's Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) with ranges between 186 and 435 miles, respectively. A large order of such missiles could give Russia some substitution for its arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles, which has reportedly dwindled, enabling it to sustain its bombardment of Ukrainian cities."
Due to the Biden Administration's appeasement and Obama's nuclear deal, the Iranian regime has doubled down on enriching uranium to 84% (weapons grade is 90% ); vowed to become "one of the world's largest arms exporters"; caused former US allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to turn to the Chinese Communist Party for protection; escalated aggression in the Middle East to push the US out of the area; and expanded Iran's military presence in Latin America to threaten the United States.
How is the Biden Administration responding? It is reportedly threatening Israel, which Iran's former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, on December 14, 2001, called a "one-bomb country": If this "one bomb country," roughly the size of New Jersey (8,700 sq. mi; 22,600 sq km) does not go along with the Biden Administration's plan to allow Iran to have as many nuclear weapons as it likes – while the US is bribing Iran's mullahs with up to $100 billion please not to use them on the Biden Administration's watch -- the US will "reassess" its diplomatic ties with Israel.
What degree of dementia is that?
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu