Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Gholam-Hossein Dehqani says the United States’ chemical weapons pose a threat to international peace and security.
Dehqani made the remarks in an address to the 24th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in The Hague on Monday.
Dehqani recalled that the United States is the sole possessor of nuclear arms in the world, calling for the immediate destruction of such weapons. He also called on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to enforce a stricter monitoring of the trend of Washington’s destruction of chemical arms before the set deadline expires.
The official underscored that the Chemical Weapons Convention is an international agreement, and said the Israeli regime’s obstinate refusal to join the convention is the key obstacle to the enforcement of the treaty on the international stage.
He recalled that Tel Aviv is in possession of abundant stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, calling on OPCW member states to do whatever it takes to force the Israeli regime to join the Chemical Weapons Convention.
In his speech, he touched upon the anniversary of the former Iraqi regime’s gas attack in 1987 against civilians in the city of Sardasht in the northwestern Iranian province of West Azarbaijan.
The top official said international aid for victims of chemical attacks are minimal, describing unilateral US sanctions in that regard as inhumane and shameful. He said Washington’s sanctions have impeded the procurement of medicine and other urgent medical needs for victims of gas attacks.
The official called on the international community to counter the sanctions, which, as he said, amount to economic terrorism and are a blatant violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
He further called on member states of the OPCW to help victims of gas attacks through a fund set up to collect voluntary contributions for the victims.
He said the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the last country in the 20th century to have fallen victim to nuclear weapons, attaches great importance to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and stressed the need to respect the principle of “consensus” in the UN decision-making process. Dehqani then hit out at the new approach adopted by Western governments where they politicize issues related to the OPCW and take advantage of the United Nations. He said such a policy is destructive for the future of the OPCW and hinders the effective enforcement of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Dehqani also commemorated the 22nd anniversary of a decision to make the enforcement of the Chemical Weapons Convention legally binding.
The 24th Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention started on November 25, 2019 in The Hague in the Netherlands and will run until November 29.
Iranian NGOs whose activities are related to victims of chemical arms have set up an exhibition on the fringes of the conference to make member states familiar with the latest developments pertaining to victims of chemical weapons.
The Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention is the most important policy-making forum of the OPCW. The annual conferences bring together 193 member states which discuss the latest international developments and policies with regards to countering the use of chemical weapons.