Iran Warned the USA on Chemical Weapons, TCSM Claims
In a letter obtained by The Christian Science Monitor (TCSM) that was sent to the USA officials, Iran has been warning Washington since July 2012 that Sunni rebel fighters have acquired chemical weapons, and called on the US to send “an immediate and serious warning” to rebel groups not to use them.
Iran claims that it warned the United States directly, in mid- and late- 2012, and at least once after that, about the risks of chemical weapons among the rebels. The letter references messages from July 18 and December 1, 2012.
Tehran Times also reports on the letter, claiming the letter is undated and was produced by the previous government under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to informed sources in Iran who provided a copy to the Monitor on the condition that they not be further identified.
A U.S. State Department official would not verify the authenticity of the letter as a matter of policy, stating, “We don’t comment on diplomatic correspondence.”
Neither the Persian and English versions of the letter seen by the Monitor have any official letterhead or other identifying marks.
Iran has argued against US airstrikes, as one of the backers of the Syrian government. The country warned that sectarian “fire” will spread, and that jihadist rebels may have been behind the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack that US officials say killed more than 1,400 people near Damascus.
On September 8th during a visit to Iraq, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said “There is ample intelligence that takfiri [extremist] groups are in possession of chemical. Extremists and takfiris are a threat to the whole region.” Semi-official Fars News Agency the Press TV headlined the story as “Iranian FM refutes US claims on Syria’s use of chemical weapons.”
The letter adds that Iran “will not spare any effort” to find a “peaceful solution.” Iran “would like to urge the US government to prevent any undermining [of] the non-proliferation of WMDs” and avoid “a potential human tragedy” by “sending an immediate and serious warning to the insurgent forces in Syria about any resort to chemical weapons/elements.”
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