U.S. Exercises the Right of Reply to Iran

Robert P. Mikulak
U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons 
The Hague, Netherlands
November 29, 2011

The 16th Session of the Conference of the States Parties, The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Mr. Chairman,

Date: 11/29/2011 Description: Robert P. Mikulak, U.S. Permanent Representative to the 16th Session of the Conference of the States Parties, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, delivers remarks.  © OPCW image

I had intended to end my statement at this point. Unfortunately, some remarks made yesterday by the Permanent Representative of Iran make it necessary for me to prolong my statement and respond directly. Perhaps I should thank him for giving such a prominent place to the United States in what he said. My country is mentioned more than ten times in the text. But alas, there were no kind words, only a political rant against the United States that is apparently mostly intended for domestic consumption in Iran. But it's sad that Iran chose to use this meeting for political mud-slinging, rather than for a rational discussion of the issues that the Conference must resolve.

Iran has once again alleged that the United States will deliberately not comply with the April 29, 2012 destruction deadline, and in fact plans to retain a chemical weapons stockpile. Nothing could be further from the truth. This rhetoric is patently false given that the United States has transparently and repeatedly described our chemical weapons destruction challenges and difficulties since 2006. As I noted above, the U.S. destruction program is well ahead of where we thought it would be five years ago – we are projected to have only approximately 10 percent of our stockpile remaining on April 29, 2012. No other delegation appears to doubt the United States’ full commitment and dedication to completely destroy our stockpile completely.

A delay in destroying one’s stockpile, even though we are destroying it as rapidly as practicable, is not a deliberate attempt to illicitly retain chemical weapons. Such an accusation is absurd – or to use a synonym with its origins in the Dutch language – poppycock. Our chemical weapons stockpile, which remains under full OPCW verification, does not pose a security threat to anyone, while others’ illicit acquisition and retention efforts pose a threat to us all. With this in mind, we trust that the other members of the Conference will continue to understand that the unrelenting and transparent CW destruction effort of the United States will continue.

Mr. Chairman,

Since the Iranian representative raised the more general issue of weapons of mass destruction, I also feel compelled to comment on this broader area as well. Our CW stockpile, which remains under full OPCW verification, does not pose a security threat to anyone, while illicit acquisition and retention efforts of Weapons of Mass Destruction threaten us all. In this connection, I need only recall the resolution adopted in Vienna at the IAEA on 18 November 2011 which stressed “that Iran continues to defy the requirements and obligations contained in the relevant IAEA Board of Governors and UN Security Resolutions” related to implementation of nuclear safeguards. It’s doubly ironic that that the rule of law and the nuclear issue seem to have been brought into the OPCW by the Delegation of Iran.

Mr. Chairman,

The Permanent Representative of Iran has also made the spurious allegation that the United States provided the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein with “chemical weapons.” This is, of course, an absurd and baseless allegation, that reflects more on Iran than on the United States.

Mr Chairman,

I ask that this statement be distributed as an official document of this meeting to the Conference.