The White House notified lawmakers on Friday that it would declare Iran is violating the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention because it has kept the equipment and facilities needed to produce them, not because it is actively making or using such weapons.
Two senior US officials tell CNN that the charge will not trigger immediate penalties, but could be used as justification to file claims against Iran with international organizations going forward.
The administration’s decision was first reported by The Washington Free Beacon.
The push is part of the Trump administration‘s campaign to exert maximum economic and political pressure on Tehran in the hopes of isolating the regime and, officials say, changing its behavior. This month, the White House reimposed all sanctions against Iran that had been lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear agreement, against the objections of other signatories to the international pact: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, European Union, China and Russia.
Analysts have said the Trump administration’s campaign, which lists 12 changes Iran must make, amounts to regime change in everything but name. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an October interview that the United States wants “to restore democracy there.”
The announcement is timed for a special meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, set for November 21 to 30 in the Hague, to review how well the treaty is being implemented. The conference is held every five years, making it the fourth since the treaty entered into force in 1997.
Iran is a signatory to the chemical arms convention, which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Last year, when the United States addressed the OPCW, the representative did not mention Iran.
Read more: CNN
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