US, Israel to blame for ‘ominous shadow’ of WMDs on region: Zarif

Tasnim – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed Washington and Tel Aviv for preventing the realization of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, calling for international action for elimination of Israel’s nuclear, biological and chemical stockpiles.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as the biggest victim of chemical arms, while reiterating its condemnation of use of weapons of mass destruction anywhere, by anyone and under any circumstances, also strongly denounces double-standard policies … and politicization of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and certain countries’ exploitation of technical issues in the OPCW,” Zarif wrote in a message on Thursday, marking the anniversary of a 1987 chemical bombing of Iran’s city of Sardasht by the Iraqi army under former dictator Saddam Hussein.

He said the world’s inaction and lack of punishment for the “savage” move and extensive use of chemical weapons by Saddam’s regime paved the way for repetition of similar horrible tragedies, this time by terrorist groups against civilians in Syria and Iraq.

The Iranian top diplomat further deplored the US for refusing to fulfil its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as an active member of the OPCW, along with other member states, calls on the US to … completely and irreversibly destroy its chemical weapons under international supervision.”

Zarif went on to say that the US and Israel, by preventing the creation of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, are to blame for the continued threat of WMDs that has cast an “ominous shadow” on the region.

Tel Aviv and Washington must be condemned by the international community for this, he said, calling for coordinated global pressure to ensure the destruction of Israel’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Located in Iran’s northwestern province of West Azarbaijan, Sardasht was the third city in the world after Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki to become a target of WMDs.

On June 28 and 29, 1987, Iraqi bombers attacked 4 crowded parts of Sardasht with chemical bombs and engulfed its residents, women and children, young and old, with fatal chemical gases.

The attacks killed 116 citizens and injured over 5,000.