Terror sponsors must be held to account for chemical raids: Iran envoy

Press TV- Iran’s envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says the countries which support the terror groups using chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria must be held accountable.

Addressing the 21st Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in The Hague on Tuesday, Alireza Jahangiri expressed serious concern over reports of the use of chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria by terrorists groups, including Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham — formerly known as the al-Nusra Front.

“The countries which sponsor such groups and facilitate their access to chemical weapons to be used against innocent people must be held to account over their actions,” he said.

Jahangiri further described the Iranian nation as a big victim of chemical weapons, stressing that Tehran attaches paramount significance to the CWC as well as the full implementation of its articles, and spares no effort concerning its global promotion.

The Iranian official further that the Israeli regime must immediately and unconditionally join the treaty.

“Our country’s commitment to the CWC and cooperation with the OPCW go beyond legal obligations, and are rooted in religious beliefs as crystallized in the fatwa (religious decree) issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on the prohibition of weapons of mass destruction,” the Iranian official said.

On February 22, 2012, Ayatollah Khamenei said the Islamic Republic considers the pursuit and possession of atomic armament “a grave sin” from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.

A Syrian soldier is treated at a hospital in a government-held area of Aleppo on October 30, 2016 following a militant chemical attack in the city.

Jahangiri also highlighted the measures taken by the Syrian government on chemical disarmament, calling on the international community to cooperate with the country in this regard instead of exerting pressure on Damascus and pursuing a discriminatory approach toward its case in the OPCW.

The Iranian official rejected a recent report by the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) – a panel set up by the UN and experts from the OPCW– blaming Syrian forces for three chemical attacks between 2014 and 2015, saying the report is one-sided and irrespective of information provided by the Syrian government.

On Monday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad rejected as part of “a campaign of lies” recent allegations by Western media outlets that the Damascus government is using chemical weapons in its anti-terror operations across the Arab country.

He stated that JIM reports are made on “the basis of inaccurate and unconvincing findings,” adding that the reports “undermine the credibility of the OPCW.”

The Syrian government turned over its entire chemical stockpile under a deal negotiated by Russia and the United States back in 2013. The OPCW has overseen operations to remove the chemical arsenal from Syria.