Tuesday Apr 24, 201202:00 PM GMT
Iran blasts US, allies on WMD arsenal
Iran
Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi
Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:39PM
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Iran has blasted the US and its allies for continued production of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), vowing its own commitment to the global fight against chemical weapons.


Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi denounced the US for possessing the world's largest stockpile of chemical arms, despite being a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) that requires signatories to abolish their arsenal of such weapons by April 29, 2012, said a Foreign Ministry press release on Tuesday.

The statement coincides with the 24th anniversary of a massive chemical attack by the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein on the Iranian city of Sardasht in 1987, IRNA reported.

Sardasht, an Iranian city near the border with Iraq, was attacked by four bombs containing 250 kilograms (550 lb) of mustard gas. The bombs were dropped in the densely populated town center.

The Iranian foreign minister blamed a number of Western countries for providing the former Iraqi regime with chemical weapons in order to undermine the nascent Islamic Revolution of Iran.

Earlier in the day, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also described the use of chemical weapons against Iranian civilians during the 1980-88 Iraqi-imposed war as 'international terrorism led by Western powers.'

“Today we are witnessing the emergence of an ominous and evil phenomenon by the name of terrorism, which is undoubtedly the result of moral corruption and the desire to impose dominance on others,” said the president.

Sardasht is the third populated city in the world, after Japan's Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which was deliberately targeted by Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Sardasht is the first town in the world to be gassed. More than 100 people were killed in the attack.

The actual toll, however, is far greater as out of the population of 20,000, nearly 5,000 individuals are still suffering from severe respiratory and skin illnesses and disorders ever since the chemical attack was launched. The WMD attack was initially met with total silence by the international community, especially the US-led Western countries that waged an all-out war on Iraq in 2003 under the false pretext of removing WMD's allegedly held by the former dictator in Baghdad.

Unfortunately, said Salehi in the statement, the US is making no efforts to meet its CWC commitments, nor does it persuade the Israeli regime, its closest Middle East ally, to join the convention. Thus the world is faced with a major threat of nuclear arms, he emphasized.

Since 1958, when Israel began building its Dimona plutonium- and uranium-processing facility in the Negev desert, it has secretly manufactured numerous nuclear warheads, earning the reputation as the sole possessor of such weapons in the Middle East.

Former US President Jimmy Carter has attested to the existence of the Israeli nuclear arsenal, which he said includes between 200 to 300 warheads.

Israel, however, has neither confirmed nor denied possessing nuclear arms under a policy of 'nuclear ambiguity.'

AS/MRS/HN/MB
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