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Chemical weapons watchdog says Iran complying with CWC

Brussels, May 16, IRNA - Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Rogelio Pfirter, highlighted Tuesday the positive role of Iran in complying with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

"Iran, is a full member of CWC. We have carried out several inspections in Iran and so far it has proven to comply with the CWC," said Pfirter in Brussels Tuesday evening.

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of "Colloquium on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention" organized by Belgium's Royal Institute for International Relations, he said erring nations were undermining a treaty that has proven to be the most effective disarmament accord ever negotiated.

"Countries which are facing the largest challenges in terms of compliance with the ultimate deadline in 2012 are Russian Federation which has the largest stockpile and the US which has already destroyed over 42 percent of its declared stockpile."

He noted that even if by 2012 these countries do adhere to the deadline, we still face the big challenge by the fact that not all countries are within the convention which has been signed by 182 states.

"There are still 12 non-members according to UN. Among those 12 we have countries like Somalia. We have Iraq which we hope will join soon as we have received communications from them recently.

"But we also have countries which have so far not given any signal that they are about to join and have allegations of weapons of mass destruction. These countries are first of all North Korea which has not heeded or paid attention to any of our communications encouraging them to join."

Middle East is the other region where not enough progress has been made, said the head of the OPCW.

"Egypt, Israel, Syria are not members but Lebanon has taken some steps which give us a source of encouragement and once the constitutional position normalizes they will be able to join," he added.

Rejecting arguments by some Middle East countries about nuclear issues and lasting peace in the region, Pfirter said, "As Director General, I find myself unable to accept any of these arguments.

Frankly, nuclear and chemical issues are completely different. There is no relation except they are all weapons of mass destruction.

"Moreover how can the cause of peace be advanced by people of Middle East without being free of chemical threat. Actually peace will be advanced if the CWC is up here."

Reiterating the slow but steady success of the CWC treaty, designed to eradicate chemical weapons and which came into force in 1997, Pfirter said, 31 percent of whole declared stock has been destroyed under the supervision of the OPCW.

... Payvand News - 5/16/07 ...

... Payvand News - 5/16/07 ... --

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