Zarif commemorates victims of Sardasht chemical bombardment

June 28, 2021 - 21:3

TEHRAN — In a message on Monday morning, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif commemorated the 34th anniversary of the horrendous chemical weapons attack by Saddam Hussein’s regime on the Iranian city of Sardasht.

The chemical attack took place on June 28, 1987, in the northwestern province of West Azarbaijan. The Iraqi war planes dropped chemical weapons on four residential areas, which resulted in the killing of over 100 citizens and injury of 8000.

Zarif’s message posted on reads as follows:

“Our dear chemical warfare veterans have twice fallen victim to some Western governments' inhumane policies. Once, when Western companies provided Saddam's regime with chemicals and chemical weapons technology, and the representatives of their governments in the United Nations Security Council remained silent and turned a blind eye to Saddam's chemical crimes and let him continue using chemical weapons against the military forces and civilians and once again during the Trump era, when the most brutal sanctions against humanity prevented sending medicine and medical equipment to alleviate the suffering of our dear chemical warfare victims.

Despite our efforts and the cooperation of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the new U.S. administration has not let go of the failed policy of the previous administration and continued imposing illegal sanctions on our chemical warfare veterans to access medical equipment.

Iranian government's legal pursuits through international channels to realize the rights of respected chemical warfare victims have become difficult due to the lack of Western governments' political will to hand over the perpetrators, assistants and real and legal managers of the chemical attacks to justice and the shortcomings and obstacles in the international penal system. Non-discrimination and segregation in their aims are commonalities between weapons of mass destruction and sanctions.

This is while, the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 once again underscored the need to strengthen international cooperation to overcome global crises.

There are two effective solutions to prevent the recurrence of human catastrophes caused by use of weapons of mass destruction in the future: 1. Handing over the perpetrators of chemical weapons together with their accomplices and managers to justice.

2. Continuous commemoration of the victims of chemical weapons and chemical warfare veterans.

The members of the Chemical Weapons Convention are expected to pursue the complete and rapid elimination of chemical weapons as well as the universality of the convention, to abide by their obligations under the relevant provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention and to comply with their commitments to approvals of the conference on international support for chemical weapons victims and chemical victims assistance fund.”

OPCW chief: Chemical weapons victims deserve our respect and solidarity

OPCW Director General Fernando Arias also said in a statement on Monday that the Sardasht victims and all others who have experienced the torment and pain caused by chemical weapons “deserve all our respect and solidarity”.

Arias further stated, “I deliver these remarks on the 34th anniversary of the 1987 chemical weapons attack on the village of Sardasht in Iran. The 28th of June is a solemn day of commemoration for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as we pause to remember the victims of that brutal attack. I have been with the victims in Tehran and in The Hague and I share with them their pain and their feelings. On behalf of the OPCW, I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to and express my solidarity with the people of Sardasht. This tragic anniversary is a momentous occasion for the international community to reunify in our shared condemnation of chemical weapons.”