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WASHINGTON – The Iranians, who are closely allied with the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, say that Russia will “safeguard” Syria’s chemical weapons, which are to be removed under a U.S.-Russian agreement reached in lieu of a U.S. military attack.
The Iranians, who were victims of chemical weapons in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, support Syria’s dismantlement of its chemical weapons.
Now, there are questions over the original intention of a U.S.-Russian agreement that Syria’s chemical weapons be destroyed.
“At present, (Russian) officials speak of transferring the Syrian chemical weapons to Russia and the Russian officials have announced that they will safeguard them,” according to Hossein Sheikholeslam, senior adviser to the Iranian Parliament Speaker, Ali Larijani.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has insisted that Syria’s chemical weapons be destroyed by mid-2014.
Sheikholeslam said that the cost of their removal will be borne by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which oversees compliance of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which Syria just joined. While some 168 nations belong to the CWC, the brunt of the cost most likely will be borne by the West, even though Sheikholeslam called for creation of a fund to help with Syria’s dismantlement efforts of its chemical weapons.
At the same time, the Iranians called on Israel to dismantle all of its weapons of mass destruction.
“The Zionist regime (Israel) is still armed with chemical and nuclear weapons and the action taken by the Syrian government should leave no pretexts for the Zionist regime, and Israel should accept to get disarmed,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.
Iran also claims to have information that “takfiri,” or Islamist militant foreign fighters who back the Syrian opposition in the Syrian civil war, have chemical weapons. Separately, Russia has presented documentation to the United Nations to support the claim, and the U.N. Security Council is expected to review the information.
In addition, WND has obtained information that the U.S. military has similar information that al-Qaida in Iraq produced the chemical weapon sarin in Iraq and transported it to Turkey, where it was distributed to the foreign fighters.
As a confidence-building measure to the Syrians, the Iranians also called on the West to stop the flow of foreign militants and arms to the radicals of the Syrian opposition whom Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Arab countries back.
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