Accusations traded at chemical weapons confab

Conference in Netherlands on chemical weapon nonproliferation became yet another venue for the standoff between Washington and Tehran.

December 1, 2011 06:37
2 minute read.
A general view of the Bushehr main nuclear reactor

A general view of the Bushehr main nuclear reactor 311 R. (photo credit: Reuters/ Raheb Homavandi)

WASHINGTON – A conference in the Netherlands on chemical weapon nonproliferation on Tuesday became yet another venue for the standoff between Washington and Tehran.

During the meeting, Robert P. Mikulak, the US permanent representative to the 16th session of the Conference of the States Parties of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), exercised his right of response to rebut claims by the Iranian representative, Ambassador to the Netherlands Bozorgmehr Ziaran.

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“Perhaps I should thank him for giving such a prominent place to the United States in what he said. My country is mentioned more than 10 times in the text. But alas, there were no kind words, only a political rant against the United States that is apparently mostly intended for domestic consumption in Iran. But it’s sad that Iran chose to use this meeting for political mud-slinging, rather than for a rational discussion of the issues that the Conference must resolve,” Mikulak said at The Hague.

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He described as “poppycock” allegations made by Iran that the United States will deliberately not comply with an April 2012 deadline for the destruction of chemical weapons.

“A delay in destroying one’s stockpile, even though we are destroying it as rapidly as practicable, is not a deliberate attempt to illicitly retain chemical weapons. Such an accusation is absurd – or to use a synonym with its origins in the Dutch language – poppycock. Our chemical weapons stockpile, which remains under full OPCW verification, does not pose a security threat to anyone, while others’ illicit acquisition and retention efforts pose a threat to us all,” Mikulak continued, jibbing at Iran, which was recently discovered to have supplied Libya with chemical weapons.

He also touched on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “Illicit acquisition and retention efforts of weapons of mass destruction threaten us all. In this connection, I need only recall the resolution adopted in Vienna at the IAEA on 18 November 2011 which stressed ‘that Iran continues to defy the requirements and obligations contained in the relevant IAEA Board of Governors and UN Security Resolutions’ related to implementation of nuclear safeguards. It’s doubly ironic that that the rule of law and the nuclear issue seem to have been brought into the OPCW by the delegation of Iran,” Mikulak said.

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