January 3 2001
EXCHANGE OF LETTERS AND STATEMENTS ON QUESTIONS OF IRANIAN COMPLIANCE WITH THE CWC, AND THE PUBLICATION IN SYNTHESIS (NOVEMBER, 2000)
In the wake of a short article that I wrote, by invitation, for Synthesis (November 2000), published by the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons), the government of Iran issued a protest to the OPCW. The Director-General of the OPCW then issued an apology to the Islamic Republic of Iran that included a promise of an investigation into the publication decision, and a blanket statement of full Iranian compliance. This letter was sent to all subscribers to Synthesis, without provide the author of the articles the customary courtesy of submitting a response. In addition, this statement by the Director-General was cited in a statement by Radio Teheranon this issue. This exchange, as well as the text of the original article in Synthesis, and a summary of reports on Iranian chemical weapons production are attached in the following document.
Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg
Director, Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation
Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel
List of Documents:
1) Reply to the Statement of the Director-General of the OPCW
2) Statement of the Director-General of the OPCW
3) Text of Statement by Radio Teheran
4) Assessments of continuing Iranian CW capabilities and programs
27 December 2000
To: Mr. José Maurício Bustani, Director-General of the OPCW
Response to the statement of the Director-General of the OPCW -- 8 December 2000
Regarding the articles in Synthesis, November 2000
1) As noted in the statement of the Director-General, the objective of these articles, written by independent analysts and not by government officials, was to stimulate informal discussion on problems regarding the acceptance of the CWC in the Middle East. The statement of theDirector-General does not in any way question the validity of the content of the article on Israeli Policy on the CWC, or the professional manner in which it was written, in accordance with the stated objective.
2) The Director-General’s statement of apology and the announcement of an investigation does not make reference to the article presenting “an Egyptian view”, that was based on unsubstantiated allegations regarding other states, and in which the absence of discussion on the Iraqi production, storage, and use of chemical weapons was conspicuous.
3) The article on Israeli Policy on the CWC noted that the Government of Israel signed the CWC when it was opened for signature in January 1993, and consideration of the conditions of ratification is continuing. This article presented a summary of the arguments in favor and opposing ratification. In this context, those individuals who argue against ratification present questions regarding the ability of the CWC regime to verify the prohibitions and prevent or deter violations, based in part on the negative experience with Iraq under the NPT regime and UNSCOM.
In addition, a summary of the Israeli debate regarding the CWC cannot ignore questions regarding Iranian policy, particularly given this government’s extreme hostility with respect to Israel, its pursuit of ballistic missiles, and support for terrorist activities. In analyzing Israeli policy, it is necessary to understand that aspects of Iran policy regarding the CWC are part of this concern. Ifthe OPCW and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran can demonstrate that these concerns are invalid, this would be a positive development.
4) The Director-General’s statement and the assertion that Iran is in full compliance with the CWC ignores the substantial questions on this issue, and highlights the concerns of analysts and policy makers around the world regarding the politicization of this organization.
5) In summary, the reasons for an investigation into the publication of these articles, the claim of “serious embarrassment“ to the OPCW Secretariat, and the apology to the Iranian government are unclear.
Gerald M. Steinberg
ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS
Office of the Director-General
8 December 2000
Statement by Director-General of the OPCW. Mr. José Maurício Bustani (Brazil)
The Secretariat deeply regrets the factthat, in addition to the general disclaimer clause in the OPCW magazine Synthesis stating that "the views expressed reflect those of the authors, and not necessarily reflect the views of the OPCW", a different approach should have been adopted by the Editorial Board with regard to the two articles published in the November 2000 issue of the magazine - namely those contributed by two academics from two non-Member States in the Middle East. The purpose of the two articles was to stimulate informal discussion about problems standing in the way of achieving the universality of the CWC in that region. However, the oversight by those concerned resulted in the publication of what can be
summarised as unsubstantiated allegations against the Islamic Republic of Iran and its commitment to the CWC, as well as allegations of the ineffectiveness of the CWC regime in general.
I have ordered a full investigation into the reasons that led to the situation whereby established procedures and specific instructions given at the time of the submission of the material in question were not followed, thus causing serious embarrassment to the State Party concerned and, indeed, to the Secretariat itself.
On the substance of the matter the Secretariat wishes to reiterate that it has no reason whatsoever to question Iran’s full compliance with the CWC, and that the application of verification measures in Iran is strictly in accordance with the Convention. There are no grounds for any concern or ambiguity in this regard. Furthermore, all verification activities in the Islamic Republic of Iran have been conducted in an atmosphere of openness and transparency, and with the full cooperation of the Iranian Government. Equally, none of the 140 other States Parties has raised any such concerns within the OPCW, which is the sole competent and legitimate authority to verify compliance with the Convention. The Secretariat also rejects the above-mentioned allegations of the ineffectiveness of the CWC regime.
In addition to being distributed to all delegations, the text of this statement is being immediately sent to all subscribers to Synthesis.
I would like to conclude with offering, once again, our sincere apologies to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
-- o --
TEXT OF IRANIAN STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE STATEMENT OF THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE OPCW:
EXCERPTS FROM RADIO TEHERAN ENGLISH SERVICE, DECEMBER 11, 2000
THE ORGANIZATION OF THE TREATY BANNING CHEMICAL WEAPONS
RELEASED AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON 10TH DECEMBER REJECTING THE
ALLEGATIONS LEVELED AGAINST IRAN BY THE ZIONIST REGIME. THE
ORGANIZATION WHOSE HEADQUARTERS IS BASED IN THE HAGUE,
NETHERLANDS HAS FURTHER IN ITS OFFICIAL STATEMENT, ANNOUNCED THAT THE
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN HAS ACTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH ALL ITS PLEDGES IN
THE FACE OF THE PAST BANNING CHEMICAL WEAPONS AND THAT THERE EXIST
NO CONCERNS IN SO FAR AS IRAN IS CONCERNED.
THE STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE ORGANIZATION OF THE TREATY BANNING
CHEMICAL WEAPONS COMES IN RESPONSE TO AN ARTICLE BY AN ISRAELI
WRITER THAT HAS APPEARED IN THE RECENT QUARTERLY OF THE ORGANIZATION.
THE ABOVE MENTIONED WRITER SAYS, IN HIS ARTICLE, THAT THE ALLEGATION [IS]
ONE REASON WHY THE ZIONIST REGIME IS RELUCTANT TO JOIN THE TREATY BANNING THE PRODUCTION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS.
THIS IS UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN IRAN, AS ONE OF THE MAJOR VICTIMS
OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS HAS PLAYED AN ACTIVE ROLE IN THE COMPILATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION BANNING CHEMICAL WEAPONS.
IRAN WAS, IN FACT, ONE OF THE FIRST COUNTRIES THAT SIGNED THE CONVENTION
BANNING CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN 1993 AND APPROVED IT IN 1997. IRAN HAS
MAINTAINED TRANSPARENT COOPERATION WITH THE INSPECTORS OF
THIS ORGANIZATION AS WELL.
THESE INSPECTORS HAVE REPEATEDLY INSPECTED IRAN'S CHEMICAL INSTALLATIONS
CONFIRMING IRAN'S ADHERENCE TO [THE] CONVENTION THAT BANS THE PRODUCTION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS. WHERE AS THE ZIONIST REGIME HAS, TO DATE, REFUSED TO JOIN THE
TREATY DISALLOWING THE INTERNATIONAL INSPECTORS TO INSPECT ISRAEL
THE THREATS OF THE ZIONIST REGIME HAVE ENDANGERED THE SECURITY OF
THE MIDDLE EAST REGION. RECENTLY AND CONTRARY TO ALL INTERNATIONAL
HUMANITARIAN AND ETHICAL REGULATIONS, THE ZIONIST REGIME HAS USED BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL BULLETS WHEN SUPPRESSING THE TYRANNIZED AND DEFENCELESS PEOPLE OF PALESTINE. THE ZIONIST REGIME HAS ACCESS TO THE MIDDLE EAST'S LARGEST ARSENALS
OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCT1ON.
IN THE COURSE OF THE FIFTH MEETING OF THE MEMBER STATES OF THE CONVENTION FOR THE BANNING OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, HELD IN THE HAGUE ON17TH MAY, SOME MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES SAID THAT THEY DID NOT PLAN TO JOIN THE CONVENTION BANNING THE MANUFACTURE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, BECAUSE THE ZIONIST REGIME DID NO
ADHERE TO ITS COMMITMENTS IN THE FACE OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
THEREFORE, EVERY NOW AND THEN, ZIONIST CIRCLES PUBLISH UNFOUNDED AND BASELESS ISSUES IN AN ATTEMPT TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT OF THE SECURITY THREATS THAT THIS REGIME HAS PRODUCED FOR THE REGIONAL PEOPLE THAT INCLUDES THE PUBLICATION OF UNFOUNDED ALLEGATIONS AGAINST IRAN.
THE ZIONIST REGIME AUTHORITIES ARE CURRENTLY ATTEMPTING TO DIVERT THE PUBLIC OPINION FOR ITS USE OF CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL BULLETS AGAINST THE DEFENCELESS PEOPLE OF PALESTINE.
Statement by John A. Lauder Director, DCI Nonproliferation Center to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Russian Proliferation to Iran's Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missile Programs, 5 October 2000, http://www.cia.gov/cia/public_affairs/speeches/lauder_WMD_100500.html
“We believe the program remains active despite Tehran’s decision to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Iran has a large and growing CW production capacity and already has produced a number of CW agents, including nerve, blister, choking, and blood agents. We believe it possesses a stockpile of at least several thousand metric tons of weaponized and bulk agent.”
Statement by Deputy Director, DCI Nonproliferation Center
A. Norman Schindler
on Iran's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs to the
International Security, Proliferation and Federal Services Subcommittee
of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee,
As Prepared for Delivery on 21 September 2000
Iran launched its offensive CW program in the early 1980s in response to Baghdad’s use of CW during the Iran-Iraq war. We believe the program remains active despite Tehran’s decision to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Iran has a large and growing CW production capacity and already has produced a number of CW agents, including nerve, blister, choking, and blood agents. We believe it possesses a stockpile of at least several hundred metric tons of weaponized and bulk agent.
Tehran’s goals for its CW program for the past decade have been to expand its production capability and stockpile, reach self-sufficiency by acquiring the means to manufacture chemical production equipment and precursors, and diversifiy its CW arsenal by producing more sophisticatedand lethal agents and munitions.
Tehran continues to seek production technology, training, expertise and chemicals that could be used as precursors from entities in Russia and China. It also seeks through intermediaries in other countries equipment and material that could be used to develop a more advanced and self-sufficient CW infrastructure.
Thus far, Iran remains dependent on external suppliers for technology, equipment, and precursors. However, we judge that Tehran is rapidly approaching self-sufficiency and could become a supplier of CW-related materials to other nations.