Iran marks Iraqi chemical attacks; an open case for Western governments
Iranian victim of Iraqi chemical attack

Tehran, June 23, IRNA – Iran marks Iraqi chemical attacks as an open case for the western governments in light of being exposed to the most horrible chemical attacks in the world since the end of the World War II by Iraqi dictator enjoying support from the west.

Iran the biggest victim of chemical weapons

During the eight-year war, the Iraqi former dictator Saddam Hussein continuously used chemical air attacks in addition to missile attacks killing and injuring thousands of military and civilian people who are still suffering after some three decades.

Iran's Foreign Ministry first in 1980 warned the international community about the use of chemical-biological weapons by Iraq.

The statement said that Sadam's regime used chemical weapons against Susangerd, also known as Dasht-e Azadegan, in the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan, but the international community and the United Nations Security Council turned a blind eye. That is why the first chemical attack registered at the UN is the attack against an area in the western Iranian province of Ilam that took place about two months later.

With the escalation of chemical attacks by Saddam's regime against Iran, Tehran officially called for international investigations that led to the deployment of the first fact-finding group of the UN to Iran comprised of four chemical weapons experts from Sweden, Australia, Spain, and Switzerland.

The use of chemical weapons by the former Iraqi Baath regime in the operation against Iranian Majnoon Island was undeniable.

The report of the group, including the medical examinations of the injured people, collecting environmental samples from the polluted areas and the unexploded ordnance was submitted to the UN Security Council in 1984. The report confirmed that in the attacks against Iranian forces, mustard and tabun nerve gases were used. But the body in its resolution did not refer to Iraq as the perpetrator of the chemical attack and only called on both sides to remain committed to the Protocol 1925.

Another significant expert report that confirmed use of chemical weapons against Iran was released and submitted to the Security Council in 1985 by the then UN Secretary General.

The relentless use of the weapons by the Baath regime against Iran prompted the UN to deploy the third expert group to the battlefield on the Iranian side Faav. In the military operation, known as The Dawn-8, during which Iranian forces crossed the Arvand Rud (River of Arvand), Iraq extensively used the chemical weapons to prevent them from advancing.

The report of the group, confirming the use of mustard gas by the Iraqi regime, was submitted to the UNSC. The images of the injured people, some of whom were treated in European hospitals, shocked the world. The pressure by the global public opinion resulted in a statement by the body in 1986, but the Western states abstained from issuing a resolution against the Saddam's regime.

Who emboldened Saddam?

The uncontrollable use of chemical weapons in the battlefields by the Iraqi dictator was escalated at a time when Iran raised the issue with the United Nations requesting the international community to stop the Iraqi regime's systematic use of the chemical weapons, but the world turned a deaf ear to the cries.

In 1987, Iraq targeted the city of Sardasht in the northwestern Iran by chemical weapons, killing at least 130 civilians and injuring thousands with a large number of survivors still suffering from the horrific effects.

During the chemical warfare in the Kurdish city of Paveh, western Iran, more than 100 people were killed most of whom were women and children, according to official documents.

Halabja cemetery - victims of Iraqi chemical attacks

Notwithstanding, the inaction of the global community and explicit full-scale support of the West and many Arab states for the Saddam's regime emboldened the dictator to the extent that he committed the biggest civilian massacre in the Iraqi Kurdistan region to take revenge of the people who were sympathetic with Iran in the conflict. The attacks against Halabja claimed the life of at least 5,000 Iraqi Kurdish people, and left some 7,000 injured. The images of the crime with women and children comprising the majority of the victims shocked the world public opinion once more, but the West again gave cold reaction.

Fifty days after the attacks, the UN Security Council finally issued the Resolution 612; an initiative of West Germany, Italy and Japan which was reflected to the UN Secretary General about the report of a fact-finding group deployed to the region. Despite the strong condemnation of chemical warfare in the context of the Resolution, no reference was made in it to the name of the perpetrator country.

 The Baath regime, according to the documents, procured the raw material and the equipment for producing the chemical weapons from various sources. But the role of Western countries in the proliferation has been ignored despite the fact that the trademarks of the factories of the arms were visible on the ordnance and residue of the chemical bombs in Halabja. Most of the weapons were made by the former Soviet Union as well as European and American companies.

 Eighty-five German, 19 French, 18 British and 18 US companies contributed to the chemical proliferation by the Iraqi regime, according to the outcome of the inquiry about Saddam's chemical attacks.

Then European states, over the eight-year war, either kept silent in the face of the chemical attacks or turned down Iran's frequent request for deployment of experts for field investigations. The declassified documents in the US, however, show that Washington was aware of the chemical weapons use by Saddam regime since the onset of the war, and it had backed the usage of the chemical weapons over the years.

Iran in 1988 presented the UN the full information on the chemical attacks committed by the Iraqi Baath regime since January 1981 till March 1988; a report with striking data: more than 56,700 people lost their lives in the attacks.


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