Deputy IRI FM in international affairs here Monday considered usage of chemical weapons by armed Syrian dissidents a serious international concern, criticizing UN for delay in dispatching chemical weapons fact finding team there.
According to IRNA, Mohammad-Mahdi Akhoundzadeh made the comment in a meeting with the head of the 3rd Conference of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
He further emphasized, 'Over three weeks have now passed since the Syrian Government has asked the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon to dispatch UN a fact finding team in collaboration with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to Syria, but unfortunately, still such a team has not been sent there, while it is necessary to avoid any delay in this respect.'
The Iranian deputy FM in the meeting at the threshold of 3rd UN Conference to Revise Implementing of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Rules, which is to be held in Hague, expressed hope that the OPCW team would be dispatched to Syria as soon as possible both to identify the users of such weapons there and to assist the victims of using such horrendous weapons.
Akhoundzadeh meanwhile referred to the issues presented at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the main purpose of the related Chemical Weapons Disarmament Convention, expressing sorrow that the big world powers have not heeded the deadlines for the annihilation of all such weapons.
The head of the Chemical Weapons Disarmament Convention Revision Conference Christophe Pieter, too, in the meeting which was held in the presence of the IRI ambassador to the Netherlands and the ambassador of Poland in that country, said that Iran plays a decisive role at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Pieter added, 'Keeping in mind that the Chemical Weapons Disarmament Convention is very comprehensive, including 188 countries in the world, it is a very strongly supported international convention.'
He meanwhile elaborated on his policies in the upcoming 3rd Chemical Weapons Disarmament Convention Revision Conference and the priorities of the international gathering.
The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister in International Affairs Akhoundzadeh elsewhere in his talks with the top UN official referred to the issue of proper implementing of the Chemical Weapons Disarmament Convention and proposed ways for eliminating some of the existing obstacles in its way.
He added, 'There also needs to be a mechanism to regulate the illegal conduct of those countries that imposed unilateral bans against the exports of chemical technologies and substances for peaceful usages.
At the end of the meeting the two sides stressed need for close cooperation aimed at success of the conference.
The 3rd Chemical Weapons Disarmament Convention Revision Conference which began on Monday night in Hague would continue for a fortnight, survey the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Disarmament Convention during the past five years, and would devise the roadmap for its more proper implementation during the next half decade.
Syria has asked the United Nations to investigate what it says was a rebel chemical attack near Aleppo.
There have been three alleged chemical weapons attacks - the one near Aleppo and another near Damascus, both in March, and one in Homs in December.
Russia, an ally of Syria, has supported Damascus against demands from western powers that the investigation be widened.
UN Secretary General Ban has made clear he wants an all-encompassing inquiry, saying it was the 'firm principle' of the United Nations that investigators to be granted access to all areas where chemical weapons were allegedly used.
After meeting in The Hague with the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is providing scientists and equipment, Ban said an advance team was in Cyprus, ready to go to Syria within 24 hours.
'All we are waiting for is the go-ahead from the Syrian government to determine whether any chemical weapons were used, in any location,' Ban said.
'I urge the Syrian government to be more flexible, so that this mission can be deployed as fast as possible.'
An exchange of letters between Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'fari and UN disarmament Chief Angela Kane showed that the two sides are far from agreement, UN diplomats said on condition of anonymity.
Kane wrote back to Ja'fari on April 5 explicitly pointing out that the Aleppo and Homs attacks should be investigated, as well as 'any other location that the head of mission may determine is necessary,' one of the diplomats said.
Syria's Foreign Ministry compared efforts to broaden the probe to the UN's role in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq by the United States.
It is 'at odds with the Syrian request. It shows there are hidden intentions ... which violate Syrian sovereignty,' said a statement on state television. 'Syria cannot accept these maneuvers.'
Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the OPCW, said the full mission would comprise 15 experts, including inspectors, medical experts and chemists. Officials from the Geneva-based World Health Organization will also be on the team.
It will be headed by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, whom Ban also met in The Hague. Sellstrom was to join the advance team on Monday.
Ban said all serious claims of chemical weapons use in Syria should be examined quickly so that evidence was preserved.
The OPCW, established to oversee the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, has helped to destroy roughly 80 percent of chemical weapons stockpiles declared by 188 members.
Syria is one of just eight countries that have not joined the convention. The others are Angola, Egypt, the racist Zionist regime, Myanmar, North Korea, Somalia and South Sudan.
Syria has categorically denied that it has chemical weapons, and said repeatedly that it would never use them against its own people, but only to repel foreign invaders.