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.”