Iran: Use of chemical arms by Syria is 'red line'

Iran Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says Iran is opposed "not just to their use (of WMDs), but their production, accumulation."

By REUTERS
April 30, 2013 14:51
2 minute read.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi [file]

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi 370 (R). (photo credit: Andreas Manolis / Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

DUBAI - Iran said on Tuesday it regarded the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war as a "red line", echoing major adversary the United States but saying Syrian rebels were the main culprit and not the Damascus government.

Last week Washington said it had "varying degrees of confidence" that Syrian government forces had likely used the nerve agent sarin on a small scale against rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


US President Barack Obama has warned Damascus that deployment of chemical weapons could trigger consequences for Assad - language widely interpreted to include military intervention so far shunned by Washington. Obama has also called resort to chemical arms a "red line" Assad must not cross.

In calling chemical weapons use a "red line" for Iran, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi did not indicate what action Tehran - one of Assad's staunchest political and military allies - might take in the case that a poison gas attack by either side in the conflict were to be proven.

Click for full JPost coverage


"We have always emphasized that the use of chemical weapons on the part of anyone is our red line," Salehi said, according to the ISNA news agency. "Iran is opposed to the use of any kind of weapon of mass destruction, and not just their use but their production, accumulation, and use."

Salehi also reiterated calls for the United Nations to investigate assertions by the Syrian government that Syrian insurgents had used chemical weapons.

"On Syria," he said, "we have also requested that in accordance with the Syrian government, which emphasizes that the opposition has used these weapons, the United Nations...identify the main culprit in this regard, which is the opposition."



The Syrian government and the opposition blame each other for alleged chemical attacks in Aleppo in March and Homs in December. Syria wants UN investigators to look into only the reported Aleppo attack, but UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wants the inquiry he has ordered to cover both incidents.

Ban said on Monday that investigators have been gathering and analyzing available information on alleged chemical attacks in Syria, but access to the war-torn country was essential for a "credible and comprehensive inquiry."

Iran counts itself as the biggest victim of chemical weapons attacks in recent history, saying up to 100,000 Iranians were exposed to the effects of Iraqi poison gas during the two neighbors' 1980-88 war. Other studies have estimated that around 60,000 were affected.

Tehran, however, is suspected by Western powers of seeking another form of mass-destruction weapons capability - nuclear - with its shadowy uranium enrichment program. Iran denies this, saying it seeks nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes.

Related Content

August 17, 2018
German Jewish council urges end of Iran-Germany trade

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL