Thursday, July 01, 2004

Rafsanjani - Saddam must answer for chemical attacks on Iran

: "Rafsanjani: Saddam must answer for chemical attacks on Iran

TEHRAN, June 30 (AFP) - Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called on the Islamic republic Wednesday to press charges against ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein over his use of chemical weapons during the two neighbours' eight-year war.

Rafsanjani said filing such charges would serve to expose the Western support for the ousted Iraqi dictator, now in the legal custody of Iraq's interim government.

'We must press charges in Saddam's trial over the use of chemical weapons against people of our country,' Rafsanjani, still one of Iran's most powerful figures, was quoted as saying by the student news agency ISNA.

'We faced severe chemical attacks at the beginning of the war when world powers were giving Saddam the green light to do anything to prevent Iran from winning,' Rafsanjani said.

'We were confronted with merciless, cunning and deceitful enemies who today claim to defend human rights.'

In April, Iran said it was preparing a formal complaint against Saddam for the alleged torture of Iranian prisoners captured during their 1980-1988 war.

The Islamic republic also wants its old arch enemy to answer for his use of chemical weapons against Iranian forces.

According to official figure, Iran has 45,000 registered war veterans with chemical injuries who cost the regime around 20 million dollars a year to support.

However, the status is of the Iranian complaint remains unclear."

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