Boris Johnson’s election victory made British arms dealers breath a ‘sigh of relief’ amid Iran tensions, expert claims

Arms companies have found ample business opportunities amid a renewed Middle East arms race


WITH Iran tensions simmering and a tireless cheerleader in Number 10, arms companies have enjoyed a bumper start to 2020.

Qassem Soleimani’s assassination earlier this month saw the world’s nine largest listed arms companies see their market value grow by £14bn in seven days.

The Iranian retaliation, though stunted by the accidental downing of passenger airliner, will no doubt see further business opportunities amid a renewed Middle East arms race.

Arms trade campaigners fear a renewed arms race will see UK exports to human rights abusing regimes

READ MORE: UK Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia rocket by 50%

Talking with Redaction News reporter James Moules, Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade says he expects to see many regional powers increase arms imports.

He told Redaction News: “I expect we will see a lot of the regimes in the Middle East buying up new weaponry. I expect the Iranian arms industry will be working into overtime as well.

“You can guarantee that when the UN sanctions come to an end than certainly Russia and China will be trying to sell as much as they can to Iran as well.

“Because as long as there is tensions, as long as the situation is becoming more politically heated then for the arms dealers that’s a major business opportunity.

“They would have been watching the news of the airstrikes and popping the cork on their champagne bottle.”

It come as Boris Johnson’s new government seems set to continue support the sales of British-made arms to Saudi Arabia.

The Conservative manifesto did not contain a promise to curtail the trade unlike other UK parties, including Labour who promise a Saudi arms sales ban.

Human rights campaigners protest against arms sales to Saudi Arabia outside Downing Street (Credit: CAAT Flickr)

Indeed the country’s top arms producers- Babcock, BAE systems and QinetiQ – saw steep share price rises within hours of the Tory victory being confirmed.

Smith has argued these arms companies have been very happy with the result of the election, because in the last Parliament there was a lot of scrutiny of UK arms sales.

He said: “The arms company bosses will have breathed a sigh of relief when Boris Johnson secured his majority.”

Smith says arms dealers want a Government “who will continue to arm and support human rights abusing regimes while adopting a militaristic foreign policy and spending billions on weapons and needless military equipment.” 

He added: “A different Government could have posed a real challenge to the pro-war lobby. Now that Johnson is back is Downing Street, it’s more crucial than ever that campaigners across the country take action.”

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