Iran to Use Position in OPCW to Prevent Chemical Warfare
The eighth conference of member states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) ended on Friday in The Hague. Iran actively participated in the five-day conference.
Iran was selected to be a member of the executive council of the OPCW for a two-year period on Thursday. This is the second time that Iran has been chosen to be on the organization’s executive council.
Iran should use this valuable opportunity to help the organization devise strategies and realize its objectives.
The Islamic Republic has made a number of proposals to the OPCW. It has proposed implementing a plan to force the Zionist regime to destroy its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and banning chemical weapons and all weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East in order to make the region a WMD-free zone.
The issue of chemical weapons is not an abstract idea for Iranians. Iran is one of the few countries in the world that has actually experienced chemical warfare. Approximately 130,000 Iranians were injured by chemical weapons during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and many others were killed. Many still suffer, and others succumb to their injuries and attain martyrdom even today.
In addition, Iranian doctors are some of the only experts in the world with firsthand knowledge and battlefield experience in the treatment of chemical weapons injuries.
Unfortunately, there are no accurate statistics on the clandestine production and storage of chemical weapons in violation of international conventions banning such practices.
However, the role that Western countries, the U.S. and Britain in particular, played in facilitating Iraq’s chemical weapons program during the eight-year imposed war undoubtedly encouraged other violations.
The Iraqi regime used chemical weapons against the people of Iran and Iraq hundreds of times during the war. The worst incident was at Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan, where the Iraqi military killed over 5000 people in a chemical weapons attack in one day in March 1988.
Iran comprehensively compiled information and documentation on these incidents and presented the material to the OPCW nearly a decade ago.
The international community is attempting to establish a suitable mechanism to prevent future chemical wars, but U.S. opposition to approval and implementation of the organization’s charter has slowed the organization’s progress toward its goals.
In fact, the U.S. has been trying to disrupt cooperation among OPCW member states. However, member states, including Iran, are trying to play a constructive role in working for world peace.
Iran is actively cooperating with the OPCW and is prepared to share its experiences from the war, especially in treating chemical weapons injuries, with other member states with the hope that there will never be another chemical war.