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Iranian FM Says U.S. Chemical-Weapons Accusations 'Dangerous'


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (file photo)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says U.S. charges that Iran has a chemical weapons program are "obscene and dangerous."

Zarif said in a tweet on November 23 that "[The] U.S. wants to resort to international conventions to make allegations against Iran when it's made a policy of violating them itself."

He added that such allegations "by a country that supported Iraq's use of [chemical weapons by Iraq] against Iran, then invaded Iraq to allegedly rid it of them is not just obscene, it's dangerous."

Zarif's comments come one day after a U.S. envoy alleged that Iran had failed to declare a production facility for the filling of aerial bombs and that it maintains a program to obtain banned toxic munitions.

Those charges were made to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at The Hague on November 22 by Kenneth Ward, the U.S. ambassador to the OPCW, an international chemical-warfare watchdog.

"The United States has had long-standing concerns that Iran maintains a chemical-weapons program that it failed to declare to the OPCW," Ward said, adding that Washington "is also concerned that Iran is pursuing central-nervous-system-acting chemicals for offensive purposes."

Ward cited the discovery of chemical-filled artillery projectiles, mortars, and aerial bombs of Iranian origin as proof that Iran did not fully disclose its capabilities.

Bodies of Iranian Basij volunteer soldiers are seen near the town of Halabja, Iraq, in March 1988, after a chemical attack on the Kurdish town..
Bodies of Iranian Basij volunteer soldiers are seen near the town of Halabja, Iraq, in March 1988, after a chemical attack on the Kurdish town..

His allegations come amid growing pressure on Iran from U.S. President Donald Trump, who has withdrawn Washington from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and introduced several layers of U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

Earlier on November 23, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Tehran "strongly rejects" the U.S. accusations.

"The United States...has made, as is its habit, baseless accusations against the Islamic republic which we strongly reject," it said in a statement.

Chemical weapons were used by Iraq under leader Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88, during which thousands of Iranian soldiers and civilians were killed and wounded by such weapons.

With reporting by AFP
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