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The new administration of President-elect Donald Trump should not ignore the threat posed by Iran’s chemical and biological weapons programs, Benjamin Weinthal, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote at Forbes, as cited by Homeland Security Newswire,
Weinthal calls for the enforcement of the nuclear deal since Iran has been violating the accord since its implementation in January.
Several cases of violation were reported. Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran violated its limit on heavy water for a second time. It has also pursued ballistic missile development in continued defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which codified last year’s nuclear deal.
A recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on Iran’s military policies noted that “U.S. reports indicate that Iran has the capability to produce chemical warfare (CW) agents and ‘probably’ has the capability to produce some biological warfare agents for offensive purposes, if it made the decision to do so.”
“This raises questions about Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which Iran signed in1993, and ratified in 1997,” the report observed.
Intelligence reports from Germany state that Iran has since January attempted to covertly acquire nuclear-related materials, as well as to advance its chemical and biological weapons capabilities, which the nuclear accord does not address. The evidence from these intelligence reports suggest that Iran must be compelled to allow international inspectors to confirm that it is adhering to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Iran has also been silent about its client, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, using chemical weapons against civilians. Iran even opposed a recent condemnation of Syria and the Islamic State by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
It is therefore imperative that Trump’s pledge to “police that contract [nuclear deal] so tough they [the Iranians] don’t have a chance” to violate it should also be applied to its chemical and biological weapons programs, Weinthal wrote.
Given that Iran is a primary state sponsor of terrorism, new sanctions against Iranian entities involved in its chemical and biological weapons programs would be “a solid first step” in fighting its “drive for hegemony in the Middle East,” he concluded.