Today I have been wondering about the possibility of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan selling some American made military equipment to Iran as a way of raising much needed cash for the new Taliban regime in Kabul.

This makes me wonder if the sanctions currently in place on Iran, due to its research and development of a nuclear weapon, has a provision in it that would also block the purchasing of any American made military hardware from another nation.

If there is no provision blocking Iran from purchasing this equipment, is there anything the United States can do to stop the Taliban from selling American made military equipment to Iran?

  • 1) The quantity is limited. 2) The quality isn't greater than what Iran might have. So Iran might just say "thank you, no."
    – r13
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 0:33
  • 3
    Relevant to this is the question of whether there is anything that Iran would care to purchase: politics.stackexchange.com/q/68466/19301
    – divibisan
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 1:34
  • Comment from Europe: why worry about Iran? The world had an agreement with Iran. Only the US broke it and like a bully in the classroom forced the rest to follow. By coincidence (?), this improved the market value for US shale oil. Iran follows a Shiite flavor of Islam, the Taliban a very strict Sunni version. The Taliban think their version is the only version, so no specific reason for them to support Iran. If you don't like the Iran regime, start checking out some US friend regimes and how much American-made military equipment they were able to obtain.
    – anneb
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 14:38

2 Answers 2


There are several kinds of sanctions on Iran:

  • Sanctions passed by the UN security council, which the UN considers binding on all nations. Those where rolled up into Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA, which the US unilaterally left.
  • Sanctions passed by the US, and supported by other nations by US pressure tactics.
  • Sanctions on a similar pattern passed by other nations by their free will.

The sanctions passed by the US are more comprehensive, but Iran and Afghanistan have a land border. Neither of them is likely to accomodate US wishes out of the goodness of their hearts. Yet there is a bit of good news. Iran and the Taliban are not natural allies. One of the few things they have in common is that the US dislikes them both.

Looking at the certain humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan and the likely refugee crisis, the West will have no option but to talk to Iran. Such talks are difficult during a "Maximum Pressure" campaign by the US. Perhaps there will be some thawing of relations, but could Iran trust the US to stick to their end of the deal after the next election, and could the US trust Iran not to use nuclear weapons if they develop them? Bleak prospects ...


I am sure a lot of military equipment has already been destroyed. If you are a US taxpayer, you can thank yourself. You paid for it. Doubtless at some time in the coming decades we will learn about environmental damage associated with the destruction and we will get a chance to pay for it again.

I seriously doubt military hardware has a remote kill switch. (If it did then the US army would be too easy to defeat - just hack the remote kill switch and their fancy stuff is useless).

I do not think there is much that can be done to prevent the sale of (former) US military hardware to Iran. For better or worse, it belongs to the Taliban now and they can do with it whatever they want to.

I suppose if we really wanted to keep it out of Iran's hands, we could buy it from the Taliban at a higher price than Iran is willing to pay, but I suspect it would be just better to let Iran have it.

  • 6
    At least 90% of this post is just speculation. Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 1:43
  • @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica The legal precept underpinning this answer is "Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers."
    – emory
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 16:26
  • I highly doubt that (or anything similar to it) is an actual law (but feel free to prove me wrong with citations) Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 16:29
  • @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica the same set of laws that restrict the Taliban from selling weapons to Iran, provide the Taliban with a forum to air their grievances over shoddy equipment (nydailynews.com/news/national/…). They could sue for damages.
    – emory
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 19:09

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