Iranian diplomat says unilateral U.S.-led attacks on Syria are worrisome

April 22, 2018 - 19:43

Iran’s Ambassador to London Hamid Baeedinejad has said that the U.S.-led attacks on Syria are worrisome and go against the UN Charter.

“The response by President Trump and his allies to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria shows there is a willingness by some countries to resort to unilateral policies to enforce disarmament obligations despite there being an internationally verifiable treaty in place. This is quite worrisome,” he wrote in an article published by online newspaper The Independent on Saturday.

The U.S., UK and France fired about 100 missiles at Syria on April 14. The attack took place one week after a suspected chemical weapons attack in the Syrian town of Douma near Damascus. The attackers claimed the Syrian government was responsible for the attack. However, the government rejected the claim.

Following is an excerpt of Baeedinejad’s article:

It remains unclear why the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is legally and internationally empowered to enforce verification of such weapons’ use, was not fully employed in relation to the alleged chemical attack in Douma. It is also unclear why the US and its allies could not postpone their action until the inspectors, who were already on their own way, could reach Douma and start their inspection activity.

As a party to the convention, Syria says it is committed to allowing the inspection team to fully investigate the allegations of chemical weapons having been used. Syria had already fulfilled its undertakings to destroy stockpiles of such weaponry, with the OPCW reporting the destruction as complete. There is no obvious impediment to the OPCW conducting a comprehensive inspection to verify the alleged use – and accordingly production and stockpiling – of chemical weapons in Douma. 

Unfortunately, the U.S., the UK and France acted in total disregard of the terms of the CWC and resorted to a unilateral assault on Syria, without authorisation from the UN, which is a clear violation of the UN Charter and against international law.

In the aftermath of the military move by America and its friends, there is a new concern, which is that if OPCW inspectors cannot find conclusive traces of chemical weapons having been used, the U.S. and its allies will claim that Syria deliberately wiped out the evidence. Although technically speaking chlorine (the gas alleged to have been used in Douma) is a substance which could fade away relatively easily, Sarin, the nerve agent which is also alleged to have been deployed, is quite persistent in the environment and its traces could be collected through environmental sampling.

The response by President Trump and his allies to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria shows there is a willingness by some countries to resort to unilateral policies to enforce disarmament obligations despite there being an internationally verifiable treaty in place. This is quite worrisome. 

After all, such action undermines global and multilateral efforts against the development and use of weapons of mass destruction; it also endangers global and regional peace and security.

And the effective enforcement of international law is maintained when all countries, large and small, strong and weak, accept that such international rules should be applied as international standards. Let us hope that unilateralism can be stopped and multilateralism be restored.
 

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