1 October 2012
Statement by H. E. Ramin Mehmanparast
spokesman and Head of The Center for Public Diplomacy and Media
Ministery of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
At the OPCW High-Level Meeting
On “Fifteen Years of the Chemical Weapons Convention: Celebrating Success, Committing to the Future”
(New York, 1 October 2012)
In The Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
First I associate myself with NAM Statement and also thank the OPCW for convening this meeting.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is the main victim of the use of Chemical Weapons in the contemporary history. As a result of nearly 600 attacks with chemical warfare agents during the 8-year imposed war by Saddam against Iran from 1980 – 1988, more than 100,000 Iranian citizens were either martyred or injured which includes more than 7000 civilians as a result of nearly 30 attacks to Iranian cities and villages.
For instance, on 28 June, 1987, Saddam’s warplanes unleashed sulfur mustard gas bombs on four residential areas of Sardasht, a town in the north-west of Iran. As a result, more than 130 unprotected civilians have been martyred and almost 5000 injured, who still continue to suffer from long-term complications. The anniversary of this tragedy is commemorated in Iran as the “National Day for Campaign against Chemical and Biological Weapons.”
Likewise, in 2010, the OPCW Executive Council invited the Director-General, on behalf of the OPCW, to convey annually on 28 June to the authorities and inhabitants of the city of Sardasht, a statement in memory of the chemical weapons attacks thereon, and to express sympathy for the victims.
In the implementation of that decision, in the past two years, OPCW Director-General made statements on the anniversary of this tragedy, and while conveying sincere sympathies to the authorities and people of the city of Sardasht, reaffirmed our resolve to rid the world permanently from the threat of chemical weapons and to guarantee that chemical weapons are never used again.
Indeed, the use of chemical warfare agents is a clear manifestation of war crime and crime of genocide. While Saddam, as the major perpetrator of such crimes, was properly punished, there remains the punishment of those who contributed to the development of Saddam’s Chemical Weapons program, in particular almost 455 companies, mostly from western countries which, according to the well-documented evidences, their involvement has been proved.
The Islamic Republic of Iran values the achievements in the implementation of the Convention during the past 15 years and calls for full commitment by all States Parties to adopt concrete steps for full compliance with their obligations under the Convention.
In our view, mere existence of chemical weapons threatens international peace and security and undermines the integrity and credibility of the Convention. Therefore, total destruction of all chemical weapons stockpiles continues to remain the key objective of the CWC. The major possessor States Parties in non-compliance with the final extended deadline of 29 April 2012, shall embark on sustained and accelerated efforts, within the framework of the CWC and its verification regimes, for full compliance with their obligations under the Convention. Otherwise the raison d’être of the Convention will be seriously challenged and its credibility will be significantly tarnished.
We also wish to underline the importance of universality of the Convention as it can contribute to the realization of its objectives.
Finally, I would like to stress the importance of full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of the Convention, in particular its Article XI and in this regard highlight the need for full implementation of relevant decision of the 16th Conference of CWC States Parties. I would also like to call upon the OPCW Technical Secretariat to expedite its efforts for the operationalization of International Support Network for Victims of Chemical Weapons and its voluntary Trust Fund.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman