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Pressure must be put on Israel to join Chemical Weapons Convention: Iran’s UN ambassador

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi (Photo by IRNA)

Iran's permanent representative to the United Nations has called for the full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), emphasizing that the Israeli regime must be forced to join the international treaty.

“Politically-motivated approaches and decisions have undermined the authority and credibility of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW),” Majid Takht-Ravanchi said during his speech at a UN Security Council session on Thursday on chemical weapons in Syria.

He noted that certain states are abusing the CWC and politically exploiting the OPCW in pursuit of their own interests, describing such practices as a challenge facing multilateralism.

“Unfortunately, such conducts have seriously undermined the Convention, undercut the legitimacy and trust in the OPCW, and caused discord among member states.

“This will further intensify the challenges of disarmament and non-proliferation, including the non-compliance of nuclear-armed states with their obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and will kick off new nuclear arms races and attempts to modernize the munitions at an alarming rate,” the Iranian diplomat pointed out.

Takht-Ravanchi criticized the technical and legal bases of the recent decision taken by member states of the Conference of State Parties to the CWC on Syria as rooted in political goals of Western countries, dismissing the measure as biased and inconsistent with the provisions and objectives of the convention.

“This is a significant setback to the principles of neutrality and professionalism in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and will have adverse effects on disarmament and non-proliferation in the current tumultuous international environment,” he said.

“Iran is the biggest victim of widespread use of chemical weapons in the contemporary history,” Takht-Ravanchi noted. “Once again, we strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances.”

The Iranian envoy also called for concerted efforts to accomplish the universality of the CWC, including pressure on the Israeli regime to sign it.

He argued that elimination of chemical weapons has not yet been achieved as a result of flagrant non-compliance of the United States with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Takht-Ravanchi finally called for the full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of the CWC and safeguarding the authority of the OPCW, stating that Tehran is ready to offer its assistance in this regard.

On April 21, the 25th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) suspended the voting rights and privileges of the Syrian Arab Republic, accusing Damascus of failing to comply with the treaty, which prohibits the use of all chemicals on the battlefield.

The resolution was passed by 87 votes in favor to 15 against, including Syria, Iran, Russia and China. There were also 34 abstentions out of 136 countries taking part.

France had introduced the anti-Syria motion on behalf of 46 countries also including Britain and the United States.

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement at the time that only 45 percent of CWC's 193 member states, not the majority, voted in favor of “the illegitimate decision,” which is inconsistent with the OPCW’s usual procedures.

“The Syrian Arab Republic condemns, in the strongest terms, the hostile approach embodied today in the work of the 25th session of the Conference of the States Parties in the Chemical Weapons convention, as Western countries, especially the US, Britain and France practiced the most heinous methods of blackmail, threats and pressure to pass a Western decision against Syria in a dangerous precedent in the history of the organization,” it added.

‘OPCW’s hostile anti-Syria decision attests to its submission to Western countries’

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bassam Sabbagh, said during the UN Security Council’s session on Thursday that Syrian army forces have never used chemical weapons and that the Damascus government condemns the use of such ammunition by anyone, and at anytime or anywhere.

He noted that the recent decision taken at the 25th Conference of State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention against Syria will set a dangerous precedent, arguing that the measure was adopted as a result  of blackmail and pressure by the United States, France, Britain and Germany.

Sabbagh pointed out that the politically-motivated decision is an embodiment of a report that is full of misleading and fabricated conclusions drawn by the OPCWs' so-called Investigation and Identification Team regarding alleged chemical attacks on al-Lataminah town back in 2017.

Sabbagh said Syria roundly rejects what has been included in the report both in form and content.

The illegitimate French-Western decision falls within the framework of an aggressive approach against Syria. Its authors deliberately ignored Syria’s full cooperation with the OPCW, and directed baseless accusation against it, the Syrian diplomat noted.

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