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Iranian FM condemns use of WMDs in remarks on Syria

Published: Updated:

The use of weapons of mass destruction has been strongly condemned by Iran’s foreign minister on Sunday, as he appeared to offer to mediate in the Syria crisis.

“We condemn chemical weapons,” Ali Akbar Salehi told Germany’s Der Spiegel newsweekly in an interview published on Sunday.

Tehran is “categorically against all weapons of mass destruction”, he said.

Iran, a strong Damascus ally, was itself a victim of chemical warfare during its conflict with Iraq in the 1980s, Salehi recalled.

Salehi told Spiegel his country was willing to take part in an international conference on Syria proposed by the U.S. and Russia, which could take place later this month.

Iran could “launch talks between Syria’s government and opposition”, he said

When asked whether Iran would abandon Syria, its ally, in the event that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was found to be using the weapons, the minister remained cagey, according to AFP.

Salehi said he was “confident” that progress was being made in the conflict, which is estimated to have killed 70,000 and displaced millions.

Salehi’s comments came after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday said there was “strong evidence” the regime of President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against rebel forces.

Both the Damascus regime and the rebels are suspected of having resorted to chemical weapons but Washington and the U.N. have said there was no incontrovertible evidence yet.