Iran announced Sunday that it wants to bring charges of its own against deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein at his forthcoming trial. The Iranian Foreign Ministry says it will submit an indictment detailing crimes committed by Saddam Hussein during the 1980-to-1988 Iraq-Iran war.
An expert on Iran and lecturer at Cairo University's Faculty of Political Science, Amal Hamada, says there are several reasons for the Iranians to take this step.
"They want to make sure that they have something to say about the trial and about the current situation in Iraq," she said. "They don't want the international community to ignore that they have something to say in Iraq."
Saddam Hussein appeared in a Baghdad courtroom on Thursday, and was charged with crimes including the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the suppression of Shia uprisings following that conflict, and the gassing of Kurdish villages between 1987 and 1988. But the indictments did not mention his war with Iran, when Baghdad allegedly used poison gas against Iranian soldiers and civilians.
Dr. Hamada suggested that Iran might also wish to attract attention to its suffering during the long Iran-Iraq war to gain international sympathy at a time when it is under criticism for its nuclear program.
"Maybe they will use it as a card to compromise, as a card to blackmail the international community to give up some of the requirements in the nuclear file," explained Dr. Hamada.
Dr. Hamada says that, if Saddam is held accountable for the war with Iran, it would bring enormous satisfaction to the majority of Iranians who lost family members in the long conflict.
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