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Iran slams destructive US role at OPCW review conference

Director General of the Iranian Foreign Ministry's Department of International Peace and Security Reza Najafi

A senior Iranian diplomat has censured the United States' destructive role in the 4th Review Conference of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), saying the US is the biggest user of weapons of mass destruction and violator of international regulations.

In an address to the conference, Director General of the Iranian Foreign Ministry's Department of International Peace and Security Reza Najafi warned of moves to politicize the OPCW.

Participants at the 4th OPCW Review Conference, held in The Hague on November 21–30, failed to reach a consensus on a final document following adverse efforts by the US and some Western countries.

Najafi said politicizing the OPCW's activities and a self-serving approach in interpreting the convention’s regulations have caused a dangerous rift in the structure of the organization that may lead to its collapse.

The US, as the most prolific user of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, and as a supporter of other users of such weapons, particularity former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and terrorist groups, is not in a position to speak about other member states' measures, he added.

The Iranian diplomat emphasized that Washington had violated all international commitments by its “destructive and divisive policies” and was not fit to object to the decisions of the OPCW conference.

He described the future of the OPCW as the most important issue at present given the failure of The Hague's conference.

As the biggest victim of chemical weapons, Iran condemns the use of these arms by anybody, anywhere and under any circumstances, and is committed to the text and spirit of the convention while will spare no efforts to build a world free of chemical weapons, Najafi said.

He expressed Iran's readiness to have constructive interaction with other member states that sincerely believe in multilateral cooperation.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on November 24 strongly denounced US claims that Iran was developing chemical weapons, warning that the allegations were not just "obscene" but "dangerous."

In a post on his official Twitter account, Zarif said the "US wants to resort to int'l conventions to make allegations against Iran when it's made a policy of violating them itself."

His post came after US Ambassador to the OPCW Kenneth Ward claimed that Iran had allegedly maintained facilities and equipment which can be used for their production.

Also on November 23, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi categorically dismissed US accusations that it had failed to declare "a toxic arms program" to the global chemical warfare watchdog in breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

In a statement, Qassemi lashed out at Washington for failing to fulfill its own commitments under the convention.

Many Iranians are still suffering from the effects of chemical weapons used by Saddam Hussein, who was backed by the US and Europe during his eight-year war on Iran in the 1980s.

At the time, repeated uses of chemical weapons by Saddam against Iranian troops and civilians were met with the deafening silence of the West.

Iran never retaliated against Iraq’s chemical weapons attacks on troops and civilians, which killed 20,000 Iranians and severely injured 100,000 more.

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