|Iran calls for punishment of those behind reported chemical attack in Syria||
TEHRAN – Iran’s representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has called for the identification and punishment of the groups who have reportedly used chemical weapons in Syria and the suppliers of chemical weapons to these groups.
Kazem Gharibabadi made the remarks in a speech at the third Review Conference of the States Parties of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in The Hague, which started on April 8.
The Syrian government had accused rebel forces of using chemical weapons against civilians in the village of Khan al-Assal in the northern province of Aleppo on March 19. Syrian media outlets reported that at least 25 people were killed and over 100 injured in the attack.
On April 8, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking in The Hague, said that an advance team was in Cyprus, ready to go to Syria within 24 hours to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons there.
However, on Monday the Syrian government rejected the UN inspection mission, saying, “Syria cannot accept such maneuvers on the part of the UN secretariat general, bearing in mind the negative role that it played in Iraq… which cleared the way to the American invasion” of that country in 2003.
It said the UN wants “additional investigations which might allow the UN mission to spread all over the Syrian territories, and this contradicts the Syrian request from the UN and indicates to the presence of hidden intentions at the states which have sought to add those investigations as this constitutes a violation of the Syrian sovereignty.”
Gharibabadi also urged the international community to condemn the reported use of chemical weapons by terrorist groups and called for an “independent, impartial, and transparent” investigation into the incident.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian official said that chemical weapons had posed a threat to international peace and security and called on the countries that possess chemical weapons to fulfill their commitments within the framework of the CWC in regard to the eradication of these weapons.
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