Whiff of mustard in new US allegations on Iran

Pallets of 155 mm artillery shells containing mustard gas at Pueblo chemical weapons storage facility in Colorado state, USA
American allegations against Iran are rising by the day. The latest addition is the suggestion that the Islamic Republic supplied artillery shells for chemical weapons stockpiled by the Gaddafi regime.

The discovery of a stockpile of shells tipped with highly toxic mustard gas was reported by rebel fighters in Libya. The Washington Post cites a number of sources as saying, that while the chemical itself was produced locally, the shells must have been supplied by a third country – Iran.

“We are pretty sure we know the shells were custom-designed and produced in Iran for Libya,” the newspaper quotes an unnamed source in the US government as saying.

The report does not state that the act of supplying the shells – if it happened at all – violated any obligations undertaken by either Iran or Libya, but goes on to mention Iran’s controversial nuclear program, which the West says has a secret military purpose.

The report linking Libyan chemical weapons with Iran is “fabricated,”“baseless” and part of Washington’s campaign to “demonize” Tehran and spread “Iranophobia in the region and all through the world,” commented Mohammed Javad Larijani, an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, in an interview with WP journalists.

Mustard gas is a toxic chemical used as a weapon during World War I, but has been largely replaced by more dangerous agents in line with technological advances. Saddam Hussein notoriously used the deadly gas against Iraq’s Kurd population and it was also used by both Iraq and Iran during their war in the 1980s.

Iran has since signed the Chemical Weapons Convention and agreed to destroy its entire stockpile of chemical weapons. This was done under the supervision of international inspectors.

Libya, which also produced mustard gas, shut down its program during its rapprochement with the West in the 2000s. However, the Gaddafi regime did not have enough time to destroy all its stockpiles by the time civil war broke out earlier this year.

Tehran has been under intensive diplomatic fire for several months now. In September, the US accused the Iranian leadership of conspiring to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington. The Islamic Republic called the allegations absurd, but Washington and some of its allies issued sanctions against Iranian officials over the alleged plot.

Just a couple of weeks later Bahrain, a key US ally in the region, announced it had uncovered an entire “terror group.” A spokesperson said the group’s operatives were to be “sent to Iran to receive military training” from the Revolutionary Guards. Both allegations were denied by Tehran.

Meanwhile, a controversial report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, published on November 8, implied that there are “credible” reasons to believe Iran is working on a “nuclear device.” The report was said to be sufficient justification for tougher sanctions against Tehran by the West, although China and Russia are skeptical over the new evidence – or lack of thereof – in the IAEA report.

Iran says it is under diplomatic attack from Washington.

“The accusations are becoming more ludicrous by the day. The only thing left [to lay at our door] is global warming. But with the way things are proceeding, Iran will probably soon be accused of that as well,” Professor Seyed Mohammad of the University of Tehran told RT.

Egor Piskunov, RT