Teheran/Iran (8/2-50). Iran vowed to take action against German companies for supplying the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons.
Ismail Baqai Hamaneh, Tehran’s representative at the United Nations in Geneva , told the UN-linked Conference on Disarmament: “Iran will never back down from pursuing Germany’s crime of arming Saddam with chemical weapons.”
He hit out at the German government “for not bearing responsibility for its role in arming Saddam’s regime with chemical weapons.”
Mr. Hamaneh said that Iran considers “all legal and natural persons who contributed in some way to providing the former Iraqi dictator with these weapons as his partners in war crimes.”
More than one million people were killed during the brutal 1980-88 war between Iran and Iraq, which saw foreign intervention on both sides.
At least 30 countries provided support to Iraq, Iran, or, in some cases, both.
But Iraq was the main beneficiary, receiving support from the United States that included technological aid and intelligence from satellites and other sources, along with sales of chemical and biological warfare technology and military equipment.
Britain, France, and the U.S. were accused of supplying Iraq with deadly chemical weapons that it used to deadly effect, most notably in the Kurdish border town of Halabja, where some 5,000 people were killed in March 1988.
Despite this, the U.S. and Britain consistently blocked or watered down UN resolutions condemning Iraq for using chemical weapons on its own citizens.
In 1991, seven senior officials of German company Karl Korb were prosecuted for providing the Iraqi dictatorship with essential components to manufacture chemical weapons at its Samarra and al-Fallujah complexes.
By 1989, German support had turned Iraq into the Middle East’s biggest producer of gases that can be used in warfare.
Some 80 German companies are known to have supplied Saddam Hussein’s regime with equipment for its weapons program, far outstripping the involvement of other countries.
While much of this technology was used for conventional weapons, an 11,000-page report sent to the UN in 2002 detailed how German companies “actively encouraged” the Iraqi government to develop weapons.
The report cited German assistance allegedly given to Iraq for the development of poison gas used in the 1988 massacre of Kurds in northern Iraq.
It said that after the massacre, public pressure forced the U.S. to reduce its military co-operation with Iraq, but German firms continued their activities until the outbreak of the Gulf war.
Mr. Hamaneh told the conference: “The issue of Saddam’s use of chemical weapons and the collusion of German companies with him is not only unforgettable in the minds of the Iranian people, indeed, but, the victims of these weapons are still tangible, who continue to suffer the consequences of injuries from chemical weapons.”
He urged the German government “to publish the results of its investigations into the transfer of chemical materials in a correct manner.”