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Syrian chemical file politicized by certain countries, Iran tells UN Security Council

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 Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Zahra Ershadi

An Iranian envoy to the UN has voiced regret over the politicization of Syria’s chemical file by certain countries, calling for an end to such a trend that has undermined the authority of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the credibility of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Syrian chemical file has been politicized by a certain group of countries,” Iran’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Zahra Ershadi said in a statement on Thursday before the UN Security Council on “The situation in the Middle East (Syria – Chemical).”

“This trend which has undermined the Convention’s authority and the OPCW’s credibility must stop,” she said, adding that stopping the trend is in the interest of the Convention, the OPCW, the rule of law and the maintenance of international peace and security.

She said Iran attaches great importance to, and calls for, the full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and reiterated the country’s full support for the Convention.

According to Ershadi, as an advocate party to the Convention, Iran will spare no efforts for the realization of the objectives of the vital instrument.

She noted that as a major victim in the contemporary history of the most systematic use of chemical weapons, Iran strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere and under any circumstances.

Damascus has on many occasions accused militants of staging gas attacks in a bid to falsely incriminate Syrian government forces amid army advances and to fabricate pretexts for Western military strikes.

Syria surrendered its entire chemical stockpile in 2014 to a joint mission led by the UN and the OPCW, which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.

‘Israel must be forced to join convention’

“We also strongly call for the Convention’s universality. To achieve this noble objective, the Israeli regime must be compelled to join the Convention without any precondition or further delay,” Ershadi remarked.

“As an active member of the OPCW, the Islamic Republic of Iran also underlines the essential importance of ensuring the independent, impartial and professional work by the OPCW,” she said, pointing to issues related to the Syrian Arab Republic.

Acknowledging the vital importance of efforts made by the Syrian government in implementing its obligations under the Convention, the Iranian envoy said the complete destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons program in the least possible time and under severe conditions proves the importance of such efforts made by the Syrian government.

She also noted that Iran welcomes the recent submission by Syria of its 93rd monthly report on its activities related to the destruction of chemical weapons and their production facilities.

Ershadi voiced Iran’s support for the new approach of the OPCW and Syria to conduct high-level dialogue, in particular the ongoing preparations for the meeting of the OPCW director-general and the Syrian foreign minister, adding, “We encourage both sides to engage constructively in this process and hope this initiative will yield positive results.”

Meanwhile, Syria’s representative at the session decried false allegations against his country, especially by the United States.

Pointing out that Syria voluntarily joined the Chemical Weapons Convention and has met its obligations in record time, he said Damascus continues to cooperate with OPCW and has always granted entry visas to its staff.

The Syrian envoy also emphasized that the OPCW fact-finding mission investigating the alleged Douma incident has not adhered to the standard procedures laid out in the Chemical Weapons Convention, including on the collection of samples and chain of custody, and continues to rely on information from unverified sources.

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