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                                        Volume. 12160

Iran calls for punishment of contributors to Saddam’s chemical weapons program
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_02_ep2(57).jpgTEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Miniser Ali Akbar Salehi has said that those who facilitated the chemical weapons program of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein should be punished.   
 
Salehi made the remarks in a speech during the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) High-Level Meeting On “Fifteen Years of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC): Celebrating Success, Committing to the Future,” which was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday. 
 
Following are excerpts of the text of Salehi’s speech: 
 
The Islamic Republic of Iran is the main victim of the use of chemical weapons in the contemporary history. As a result of nearly 600 attacks with chemical warfare agents during the 8-year imposed war by Saddam against Iran from 1980-1988, more than 100,000 Iranian citizens were either martyred or injured, (including) more than 7000 civilians as a result of nearly 30 attacks (on) Iranian cities and villages. 
 
For instance, on 28 June, 1987, Saddam’s warplanes unleashed sulfur mustard gas bombs on four residential areas of Sardasht, a town in the northwest of Iran. As a result, more than 130 unprotected civilians (were) martyred and almost 5000 (were) injured, who still continue to suffer from long-term complications. The anniversary of this tragedy is commemorated in Iran as the “National Day for Campaign against Chemical and Biological Weapons.” 
 
Likewise, in 2010, the OPCW Executive Council invited the director general, on behalf of the OPCW, to convey annually on 28 June to the authorities and inhabitants of the city of Sardasht, a statement in memory of the chemical weapons attacks thereon, and to express sympathy for the victims. 
 
In the implementation of that decision, in the past two years, (the) OPCW director general made statements on the anniversary of this tragedy, and while conveying sincere sympathies to the authorities and people of the city of Sardasht, reaffirmed our resolve to rid the world permanently (of) the threat of chemical weapons and to guarantee that chemical weapons are never used again.
 
Indeed, the use of chemical warfare agents is a clear manifestation of war crime and crime of genocide. While Saddam, as the major perpetrator of such crimes, was properly punished, there remains the punishment of those who contributed to the development of Saddam’s chemical weapons program, in particular almost 455 companies, mostly from western countries which, according to the well-documented evidence, their involvement has been proved.
 
The Islamic Republic of Iran values the achievements in the implementation of the convention during the past 15 years and calls for full commitment by all states parties to adopt concrete steps for full compliance with their obligations under the convention. 
 
In our view, mere existence of chemical weapons threatens international peace and security and undermines the integrity and credibility of the convention. Therefore, total destruction of all chemical weapons stockpiles continues to remain the key objective of the CWC. The major possessor states parties in non-compliance with the final extended deadline of 29 April 2012 shall embark on sustained and accelerated efforts, within the framework of the CWC and its verification regimes, for full compliance with their obligations under the convention. Otherwise, the raison d’être of the convention will be seriously challenged and its credibility will be significantly tarnished. 
 
We also wish to underline the importance of universality of the convention as it can contribute to the realization of its objectives. 
 
Finally, I would like to stress the importance of full, effective, and non-discriminatory implementation of the convention, in particular its Article XI and in this regard highlight the need for full implementation of relevant decision of the 16th Conference of CWC States Parties. I would also like to call upon the OPCW Technical Secretariat to expedite its efforts for the operationalization of International Support Network for Victims of Chemical Weapons and its voluntary Trust Fund.
 
EP/PA

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