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An arms embargo is an embargo that applies to weaponry. It may also include "dual use" items. An arms embargo may serve one or more purposes:

  1. to signal disapproval of behavior by a certain actor,
  2. to maintain neutral standing in an ongoing conflict, or
  3. to limit the resources an actor has to inflict violence on others

Historical examples


US President Jimmy Carter implemented the embargo against the 1976 Military Junta due to the Dirty War. This was joined by the United Kingdom after the 1982 Falklands War. The ban was lifted in the 1990s when Argentina was named a Major non-NATO ally. During those years Argentine Armed Forces shifted to Western European countries and Israel for supplies.


The United States government imposed an arms embargo to Indonesia in 1999 due to human rights violations in East Timor. The embargo was subsequently lifted in 2005.


There have been international sanctions against Iran since 1979.[Clarification needed] In March 2007, UN Security Council Resolution 1747, imposed a ban on arms sales with Iran.

People's Republic of China

The U.S. and EU stopped exporting arms to China after 1989, due to the reaction by China's Government towards the protest in Tiananmen Square. Currently, there is some debate in the EU over whether the embargo should be lifted.[1]

South Africa

The arms embargo of South Africa from 1977 extended to dual use items. The embargo was lifted by Resolution 919 in 1994.

List of current arms embargoes

The countries included in the list are under arms embargo of the United Nations or another international organization (EU, OSCE and others) or country. In some cases the arms embargo is supplemented by general trade embargo, other sanctions (financial) or travel ban for specific persons. In some cases the arms embargo applies to any entitiy residing or established in the country, but in others it is partial - the recognized government forces and international peacekeepers are exempted from the embargo.

Former embargos

See also


External links

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