Iran's Zarif denounces 'dangerous' US claims about Iranian chemical weapons

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Mohammad Javad Zarif says US claims Tehran has failed to declare a chemical weapons programme are 'obscene and dangerous'

The US says Iran failed to declare a chemical weapons programme, a claim Zarif flatly denied (Reuters)
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Friday 23 November 2018 21:47 UTC
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Iran's foreign minister has said that accusations from the United States that Tehran has a chemical weapons programme are "obscene and dangerous".

On Friday, Mohammad Javad Zarif decried the US comments, which were made earlier this week amid an ongoing war of words between the Iranian government and US President Donald Trump's administration.

"[The] US wants to resort to international conventions to make allegations against Iran when it's made a policy of violating them itself," Zarif said on Twitter.

He said that allegations about weapons of mass destruction "by a country that supported Iraq's use of [chemical weapons] against Iran, then invaded Iraq to allegedly rid it of them is not just obscene, it's dangerous".

A day earlier, Washington accused Tehran of failing to declare a chemical weapons programme to the global watchdog in breach of international agreements.

Kenneth Ward, the US envoy to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told the organisation that Tehran was also seeking deadly nerve agents for offensive purposes.

Tehran 'strongly rejects' US accusations

Earlier on Friday, the Iranian foreign ministry said Tehran "strongly rejects" the Washington's allegations.

"The US ... has made, as is its habit, baseless accusations against the Islamic republic which we strongly reject," the foreign ministry said in a statement, as reported by AFP.

"Such incorrect and false accusations are due solely to enmity towards the Iranian nation and are intended to deflect international attention from its own broken commitments and continued support for the Zionist regime's chemical arsenal and for terrorist groups."

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US sanctions may have limited effect on Iran's economy

The war of words comes only a few weeks after the Trump administration reimposed wide-reaching economic sanctions on Iran's oil and banking sectors, which the US says aim to restrict Iran's nuclear weapons programme and curb its influence in the region.

Earlier this year, the US president also pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Tehran, a decision that has pit Washington against several of its key allies in Europe, who remain committed to the agreement.

On Friday, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Kazem Gharibabadi, called on the international community to stand up to the "irresponsible conduct" of the US.

He accused Washington of pressuring other states to cease doing business with Iran, in contravention of the 2015 nuclear deal, and said Tehran would consider pulling out of the agreement if it no longer guarantees the interests of the Iranian people.

"It will be a great shame if the achievement of 12 years of multilateral diplomacy would be shattered by irresponsible behavior and unilateral action of one state," Gharibabadi said, as reported by Iran's state-run news agency, IRNA.

On 12 November, the IAEA said Iran was abiding by the restrictions outlined in the 2015 agreement.