Two Iranian Victims of Chemical Weapons to Address OPCW Meeting

Two Iranian Victims of Chemical Weapons to Address OPCW Meeting

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Two Iranians who have suffered extensive injuries due to chemical weapons used by the former Iraqi dictator are to address the 18th Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in The Hague, December 2-6.

The Iranian delegation to the conference is comprised of Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi, two physicians, who have done extensive research on the effects of chemical weapons on human beings, and two chemical weapons victims.

The Iranian delegation left Tehran on Sunday for the Dutch city of The Hague to attend the 18th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

Araqchi is planned to give a speech in the forthcoming event as representative of the Islamic Republic, which also holds the presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Iran is one of the biggest victims of chemical weapons, and indeed the only victim of the use of weapons of mass destruction in recent history, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

During the eight-year Iraqi imposed war on the Islamic Republic in the 1980s, more than 1,000,000 Iranians were exposed to chemical agents of different types by Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein.

Between 10,000 and 20,000 people were killed and 100,000 of those who survived have developed acute symptoms, often chronic.

From 1983, Saddam Hussein repeatedly attacked Iran with mustard gas, sarin and tabun to reverse the fortunes of his failed invasion of Iran three years earlier.

Firms from western countries -- including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the US and Austria -- and some other countries provided the slain Iraqi dictator with chemical precursors, equipment and know-how to produce chemical weapons which he used against the Iranian armed forces and civilians during the war (1980-1988).

Saddam also used such deadly weapons in 1988 in the Al-Anfal Campaign against his civilian Kurdish population and during a popular uprising in the south in 1991.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the OPCW, as The Hague-based body is in the spotlight for its mission to oversee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons.

The $1.25-million award will be presented in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the prize founder. The prize went to the European Union last year.

The OPCW was founded in 1997 to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which bans the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction.

Since 1997, the Hague-based body has managed to eliminate 57,000 tons of chemical arms, most of them leftovers from the Cold War now held by the United States and Russia.


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