SHAFAQNA- IRNA: A question that comes to mind when we think about chemical weapons and its use against Iran during the Iraqi imposed war, is that who provided the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with those unconventional weapons.
A disabled Iranian war veteran, called Janbaz in Persian language, who was chemically injured about 70 percent during Iran-Iraq war in 1980-88, says all world powers were supporting the then Iraqi president Saddam.
Nasser Afshari, who became Janbaz about two years before the end of war, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with IRNA, the interview which was held on the occasion of national day of campaign against chemical weapons that falls on June 29 this year.
The national day commemorates Sardasht chemical bombings.
When Iraqi war planes targeted city of Sardasht in northwestern Iranian province of West Azarbaijan on June 28, 1987, with chemical weapons, over 100 citizens of the city were martyred and thousands of the people were wounded by deadly chemical attacks.
“People in Sardasht are still suffering after 32 years,” Afshari said.
Asked why the international organizations kept silent on Saddam’s crimes against humanity, the war veteran said the Europeans and Westerners were those who provided Iraq with chemical weapons, so how they could condemn his crimes while they, themselves, abetted with him in the heinous crimes.
Afshari, who has been bedridden for over 200 months due to its serious injuries and went under surgery for more than 60 times, went on to say that Saddam Hussein was suffering from lack of wisdom, so that chemical weapons should not have given to him, because he did not even know what are those weapons, let alone when or where to use them.
“They (international bodies) only said he (Saddam) was doing wrong, but they did not censured him,” said Afshari adding if they were to condemn Saddam, they should first condemn themselves.
Iraqi military forces targeted Iranian cities with chemical bombings while based on the 1925 Geneva Protocol “the use of chemical and biological weapons in war” is prohibited. The Protocol entered into force three years after signing.
Asked about this tragedy’s human dimension, the war veteran said Iran is a victim of chemical attacks, stressing Iraq fought cowardly.
Asked whether Iran was offered compensation for its loss from the imposed war, he replied “I don’t know.”
He said the international bodies should stand seriously against the Iraqi dictator’s brutal crime at that time, “…, or they should have banned Saddam.”
If I were asked who was guilty for chemical war against Iran, “I will say the international organizations are guilty.”
“I believe that if the UN [officials] had had real human zeal, and if they were faithful to their slogan that they are supporters of the human rights or the rights of all people and the oppressed, they would not have let Saddam to re-use chemical weapons.”
“Their human rights’ claims were just a slogan.”
Remembering the events of war, the veteran said, “When we were entering Iraqi strongholds, we saw as if we were at the United Nations because you could see the flags of many world countries,” including Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, China, Indonesia, the US, the UK and Russia.
On the one hand, Russia and America were supplying weapons to Saddam, on the other hand, the Europeans were supporting him diplomatically, Afshari said, stressing Iran was alone as the world was against Iran.
“We had powerful incentives, but they (Iraqis) were stronger militarily.
The war veteran believes that even if the animals got access to chemical weapons, they would not use them; however, Saddam used.
Nasser Afshari, 54, was injured by chemical weapons by the Iraqi Saddam Hussein two years before the end of the imposed war.
Afshari was chemically wounded when he gave his gas mask to his comrade to save the comrade’s life.
What he witnessed during the wartime proves that Iraqi dictator had been using chemical weapons against the Iranians, civilians in particular, from the beginning of the war.
First, Saddam was secretly attacking on Iran through chemical rockets, then he was openly doing it after two or three years from the start of the war, Afshari said.
Iraq’s eight years of the imposed war claimed lives of 230,000 Iranian soldiers and left near 600,000 war-disabled. While, about 43,000 Iranians were captivated by the Iraqi forces and many others gone missing.
Afshari is one of the victims of the chemical bombings.
Chemical weapon means suffocation, i.e. you cannot breathe, so that you cannot live.