Iran failed to declare chemical weapons: US

The US said Tehran was seeking deadly nerve agents for offensive purposes. (AFP)
Updated 22 November 2018
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Iran failed to declare chemical weapons: US

  • The US has had longstanding concerns that Iran maintains a chemical weapons program that it failed to declare to the OPCW, said the envoy
  • 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

THE HAGUE: The US accused Iran on Thursday of failing to declare a toxic arms program to the global chemical warfare watchdog, in breach of international agreements.

US envoy Kenneth Ward told the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague that Tehran was also seeking deadly nerve agents for “offensive purposes.”

Tehran did not immediately respond to the accusations, which add to tensions with Washington over Iran’s nuclear program, terrorism, and the war in Syria.

“The United States has had longstanding concerns that Iran maintains a chemical weapons program that it failed to declare to the OPCW,” ambassador Ward told a five-yearly meeting on the body’s future.

“The US is also concerned that Iran is pursuing central nervous system-acting chemicals for offensive purposes.”

Ward said 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 Qaddafi in 2011.

“They were clearly of Iranian origin as evidenced by the Farsi writing on the boxes containing the artillery shells,” he said.

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. Finally, Iran had failed to declare riot control agents despite having marketed them at defense expos, he added.

Ward accused Iran and its ally Russia of “enabling” the use of chemical weapons by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad “while pursuing their own chemical weapons programs.”


Turkey sends weapons to opposition fighters in Syria

Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters get a major boost as Ankara backs them with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them hold their ground. (Reuters)
Updated 26 May 2019
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Turkey sends weapons to opposition fighters in Syria

  • Ankara signals readiness to preserve its influence in Syria’s Idlib province in northwestern region

AMMAN: Turkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian opposition fighters it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and opposition sources said on Saturday.
Russia is backing the Syrian army’s large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of opposition-held territory in the northwest of the country.
Syria’s Bashar Assad launched the assault last month, saying fighters had breached an existing cease-fire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding Idlib and adjacent areas. It has been the biggest escalation since last summer between Assad and the opposition fighters in Idlib province and a belt of territory around it.
Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey, two senior opposition figures said.

FASTFACT

Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey.

In doing so Turkey signaled its readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has beefed up its troop presence in a dozen military bases that were set up under a de-escalation deal with Russia, a senior opposition commander said. Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.
Overnight, a Turkish military convoy arrived in a base in northern Hama near opposition-held Jabal Al-Zawiya, where Russian and Syrian jets have been pounding for weeks, a fighter and a witness said.
The delivery of dozens of armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles helped roll back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kfar Nabouda.