The Iranian Defense Ministry plans to increase exports of arms and military equipment to friendly and neighboring countries in the next Iranian year (starts on March 20), a senior Iranian Defense Ministry official announced on Saturday. Speaking to FNA, Iranian Deputy Defense Minister General Majid Bokayee stated that his ministry has initiated massive plans to promote arms exports. \"The issue of (arms) exports is one of the fundamental issues considered by the Iranian Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, and great efforts have been made to increase military exports remarkably in the next year (March 2012-March 2013),\" Bokayee underscored. He pointed to the visit to Iran by Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn and Iran\'s pledge to equip the Lebanese Army, and further added, \"We will naturally have massive relations with the friendly and neighboring countries regarding arms exports.\" During a meeting with Ghosn in Tehran in February, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi underlined Tehran\'s determination to provide all-out support for Lebanon against the foreign countries and terrorists\' threats, and also stressed that the Lebanese Army should be reinvigorated to the same end. \"Strengthening the Lebanese Army is one of the strategic policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Lebanon should have a powerful Army to defend its interests in the region,\" Vahidi reiterated. In July 2010, a senior Iranian military expert said that the country is exporting arms and military equipment to 40 world states at present. \"Despite 30-year-long sanctions against the defense industries, the Islamic Republic is currently exporting military equipment to 40 countries,\" General Yadollah Javani told FNA at the time. Iran has also taken wide strides in designing and manufacturing different types of light, semi-heavy and heavy weapons, military tools and equipment. Tehran launched an arms development program during the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war on Iran to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and fighter planes. Yet, Iranian officials have always stressed that the country\'s military and arms programs serve defensive purposes and should not be perceived as a threat to any other country.