UK Secret Government Files: UK knew Iraq was using chemical weapons on Iran
When Iraq attacked Iran in September 1980, it triggered an eight year devastating war. Led by Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi-imposed war came less than two years after the Islamic revolution in Iran.
Iraq was being heavily supported by the US, the UK and other regional and international powers. The country was given loans, military equipment and satellite imagery. Iraq also used horrifying chemical weapons, such as mustard gas, against Iranian as well as Iraqi Kurds.
Now, previously unpublished UK secret government files reveal that Britain knew that Iraq was making chemical weapons, but did nothing to stop this from happening. The reason implicates the British government, as the file reveals they didn’t act because a British firm was supplying Iraq with the parts to make the chemical weapons.
In the secret file from 1983, entitled “Chemical Weapon Manufacture in Iraq”, diplomats warn against any action against Iraq, saying “Caution may be in order, since our own trade in CS gas has not escaped criticism. (The Russians claim that our use of CW in Northern Ireland contravened the Geneva Protocol.)”
“Another relevant factor is that a British company, Weir Pumps, has apparently supplied pumps to the Samarra factory under the impression that they were for use in making pesticides,” it continues.
In the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war, it emerged that British intelligence services knew that parts, equipment and raw materials from the country were being used to make Iraqi chemical weapons.
Some 190,000 Iranians were killed in the Iraqi-imposed war and many more were affected by the chemical weapons like mustard gas that were used by Saddam’s regime. Many of those Iranians who were attacked by chemical weapons and are alive today continue to suffer the lingering after effects.