|Iran behind anti-WMD rider in chemical watchdog's decision on Syria: Lavrov||
TEHRAN – A small but far reaching clause in the chemical watchdog’s decision on Syria that urges all non-signatories of the Chemical Weapons Convention to join the treaty was actually proposed by Iran – and supported by the U.S., Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed, RT reported on Monday.
Recalling the tense round of negotiations surrounding the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons, the Russian foreign minister said that it was Iran that “offered a very sound addition.” The insider revelation into the diplomatic process of avoiding yet another armed conflict in the Middle East was shared by Lavrov in an interview with the Kommersant daily.
The Iranian proposal reflects Russia’s long-standing belief that the Middle East should be free of weapons of mass destruction. The clause, submitted by Tehran was included in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) decision on Friday ahead of the UN Security Council vote on a new Syrian resolution.
“It is very important that in the Hague, when there was a vote on the decision on the role of the OPCW in implementing the program of chemical weapons destruction in Syria, a special clause was inserted urging all countries which have not yet done so to sign the convention,” Lavrov said.
“I will reveal a little secret: this clause was introduced by Iran and supported by the United States. Iran in the past century, has twice suffered from chemical weapons. I think Iran offered a very sound addition,” the Russian foreign minister said.
Lavrov added that back in Geneva, it was Russia which suggested that such a clause be included in the draft resolution submitted to the UN Security Council with the aim of establishing within the Middle East a zone free from all weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
Now Moscow has embarked on a special mission to make the world a chemical weapons free zone. After meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his desire to see all the chemical weapons in the world destroyed, the Russian foreign minister revealed.
“This key task – to do everything possible in order to neutralize, deliver to international control and then destroy chemical stockpiles that still exist in the world – was set by president [Putin] after his conversation with Barack Obama,” Lavrov told the Kommersant.
In the meantime, Russia will urge the Syrian government to prevent the disruption of the plan's implementation for the destruction of chemical weapons.
The West, Lavrov said, should send a similar signal to the opposition on the ground.
“There are terrorist groups who do not obey anyone except Al-Qaeda,” Lavrov said on Sunday. “But the oppositionists, who are subjected to the influence of outside players, should be educable. They should be sent a signal, so that they would not dare to undermine the process.”
Russia in turn will do everything to play a role in destroying the Syrian chemical weapons.
“We are ready to participate in all components of the forthcoming operation – in inspection activities and the administrative structures that can be set up to coordinate activities between the UN and the OPCW on the ground, as well as in structures that [we] will likely have to create in order to provide security and support for the Syrian law enforcement.”
With the new revelation about Tehran’s role in the Syrian disarmament process, Iran's intent to demilitarize the Middle East seems even more serious.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s speech at the UN General Assembly was focused at promoting peace efforts in the Middle East.
Besides indicating his country’s full readiness to immediately engage in result-oriented talks over its nuclear program, he also urged Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and called for a world disarmament conference to establish a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.
“Threatening non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons should end. The modernization of these weapons undercuts efforts for their total abolition,” the Iranian president stressed.
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