Iran questions credibility of watchdog’s report on 2018 chemical attack in Syria
Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) has questioned the credibility of a report by the world chemical watchdog on Damascus launching an alleged chemical attack on its nation back in 2018.
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The report was issued by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)'s so-called Investigation and Identification Team late last month. It alleged that there were "reasonable grounds to believe" that at least one Syrian air force helicopter had dropped two cylinders of toxic gas on the town of Douma near the Syrian capital during the so-called incident. Damascus has strongly denounced and rejected the allegations as completely lacking in all scientific and objective evidentiary basis.
Amir Saeed Iravani, Iran's permanent ambassador to the UN, echoed Syria's condemnation, addressing a United Nations Security Council gathering on Tuesday.
The report, similar to the previous ones that had been issued by the OPCW about the alleged incident, is "based on unauthorized sources, lacks the necessary legal conclusion, and [has been prepared] irrespective of the Syrian government's observations," the envoy added.
Iravani said the same Western countries that either supported or stayed silent towards the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's systematic deployment of chemical weapons against Iran -- during Saddam's 1980-88 war against the Islamic Republic -- had manipulated the OPCW and its subsidiary mechanisms into compiling the report against Syria, so they can advance their political goals concerning the Arab country.
He said the Western states were staging a "premeditated scenario" against Syria.
"The Islamic Republic is deeply concerned about exploitation and politicization of the OPCW," Iravani noted, saying manipulation of the organization in such a way worked to dent its credibility.
The alleged chemical attack reportedly hit the Syrian town on April 7, 2018, with Western countries quickly blaming the so-called incident on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A week later, the United States, Britain, and France launched a coordinated missile attack against sites and research facilities near Damascus and the western Syrian city of Homs with the purported goal of paralyzing the Syrian government’s capability to produce chemicals.
Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and OPCW, which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.
Damascus has repeatedly asserted that no chemical attack had happened on the town at the time and that the incident had been staged by foreign intelligence agencies to pressure the Syrian government at a time when it was making significant advances against foreign-backed terrorists across the Arab country's soil.
The Syrian government also says it believes that the incident was staged by the White Helmets, a Western- and Israeli-backed group, which claims to be a humanitarian NGO, but has long been accused of working with anti-Damascus terrorists and staging false-flag gas attacks.