Iran Official: US should Stand next to Saddam in International Court
If Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein should be tried as a war criminal as demanded by Washington then so should the US leaders who once backed him, a former Iranian military chief said.
Mohsen Rezaie, who headed the Revolutionary Guards during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, said US support for Baghdad in the war leaves Washington on equal footing with Saddam.
"If you recognize human rights, you must stand alongside Saddam at the court as a defendant charged with being an accomplice to Saddam and for providing him chemical weapons," the state IRNA news agency quoted him saying Sunday.
"If there is any justice at the international war crimes tribunal, then why shouldn't one also question Ronald Reagan and George Bush?" he said, citing Iraqi use of chemical weapons, which was verified by UN observers.
The US Ambassador-at-large for War Crimes Issues, David Scheffer, said last week it was "our primary objective is to see Saddam Hussein and the leadership of the Iraqi regime indicted and prosecuted by an international criminal tribunal."
He said if that was not possible the US could push to have the Iraqi regime tried in other countries but did not say where.
In addition to the war crimes effort, the United States has maintained a hard-line stance in the UN Security Council against easing international sanctions slapped on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Rezaie was reportedly among several foreign officials including some from Cuba and Yugoslavia who were denied visas to enter the United States for an inter-parliamentary summit New York at the end of last month.
Tehran and Baghdad raised diplomatic relations, which were never broken off during the eight-year war, to the level of charge d'affaires in 1990.
But the process of normalization has since run aground on the issue of prisoners of war and armed opposition groups sheltered by both regimes.
An official Iraqi newspaper said Sunday it "sincerely" wanted to believe a call for peace by Iranian President Mohammed Khatami last week on the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq war - TEHRAN (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)