Iran has categorically dismissed US accusations that it has failed to declare “a toxic arms program” to the global chemical warfare watchdog in breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
In a statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi lashed out at Washington for failing to fulfill its own commitments under the convention.
Tehran, he said, strongly rejects the “groundless” accusations leveled by the US mission to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) during the Fourth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in The Hague.
Qassemi referred to the US as the only OPCW member state with chemical weapons arsenals which he said had so far failed to fulfill its commitment to destroy them.
He said the US has leveled such “false accusations” against Iran while it is siding with the Israeli regime’s chemical weapons program.
Qassemi said Washington has raised such allegations out of its hostility toward the Iranian nation. The White House, he said, is trying to raise such accusations to divert the world’s attention away from its own violation of commitments and continued support for the Israeli chemical arsenals and terrorist groups.
The US accused Iran on Thursday of failing to declare what it called “a toxic arms program” to the OPCW in breach of international agreements.
US envoy Kenneth Ward told the OPCW conference that Tehran was seeking deadly nerve agents for “offensive purposes”.
Ward claimed that Iran had failed to declare the transfer of chemical-filled shells sent to Libya in the 1980s despite an appeal by the OPCW to identify their origin. They were found after the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
“They were clearly of Iranian origin as evidenced by the Farsi writing on the boxes containing the artillery shells,” he claimed.
Iran had also failed to declare a “chemical weapons filling capability” despite the discovery of toxic shells and bombs in Libya and also in Iraq, he said.
Finally, Iran had failed to declare riot control agents despite having marketed them at defense expos, the US envoy claimed.
The US is set to level a new allegation against Iran, claiming that the Islamic Republic is not abiding by the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.
Many Iranians are still suffering from the effects of chemical weapons used by the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who was backed by the US and Europe during his eight-year war on Iran in the 1980s.
At the time, repeated uses of chemical weapons by Saddam against Iranian troops and civilians were met with the deafening silence of the West.
Iran never retaliated against Iraq’s chemical weapons attacks on troops and civilians, which killed 20,000 Iranians and severely injured 100,000 more.
In 2014, the wartime chief of the Iranian ministry responsible for military procurement Mohsen Rafighdoost confirmed that a fatwa (religious decree) issued by the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini prohibited the use of chemical weapons.