Iran has questioned the credibility of a report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on the cause of the April 4 chemical incident in Syria’s Khan Sheikhoun. The objection was raised in a statement by Iran’s representative to the UN chemical watchdog, Alireza Jahangiri, at the 55th Special Session of OPCW Executive Council at its headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, last week.
“There are ambiguities in the report of the fact-finding mission into the Khan Sheikhoun incident regarding its sources, the way information has been gathered, the sampling and [why they did not] conduct on-site inspection “ the statement said.
The report published on June 29 by a fact-finding mission established by the OPCW to investigate the incident said it has discovered that sarin nerve gas had caused the incident. The organization, however, did not blame any party to the conflict for the attack that left over 90 people killed.
The report will be taken up by a joint UN-OPCW panel tasked with determining whether Syrian government forces were behind the incident.
The US and its western allies, along with some regional states supporting militants struggling for six years to bring down the Syrian government, have blamed the incident on the Syrian government.
They say the chemical airstrikes carried out by Syrian warplanes caused the incident. The statement lamented that “some countries prevented the mission [from going to Syria] and samples were gathered indirectly”, although the Syrian government had announced readiness to provide OPCW inspectors with access to Khan Sheikhoun and the al-Shayrat airbase, from where the Syrian government had allegedly conducted the chemical attack.
Although the Syrian government denied having any role in the alleged gas attack and said it does not possess any chemical weapons, the US launched a cruise missile strike against the al-Shayrat airbase on April 7 and claimed it was a retaliatory measure.
Syrian Foreign Ministry has denounced the OPCW report as “one-sided”, saying it lacks evidence and is aimed at “encouraging terrorists as they are losing ground”.
In a statement released on July 1, Damascus said the organization had rejected the Syrian government’s assistance and instead “relied on highly questionable testimonies provided by terrorists”, Russia Today reported. Continue reading.