Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Iran wants Saddam tried for war crimes

The Peninsula:
Iran demanded yesterday that ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein be tried over the 1980-88 war, as Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari wrapped up a landmark visit aimed at mending fences between the former foes. READ MORE

Jaafari hailed agreements to improve cooperation in areas ranging from security to Iraq's desperate shortage of refined fuel, as he prepared to board a plane for the northeastern city of Mashhad for closing talks with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said his government was prepared to provide the Iraqi Special Tribunal charged with trying Saddam and its top aides with all the evidence necessary to prosecute him for his 1980 invasion of Iran.

"With respect to the crimes committed by the leaders of the former Iraqi regime against the Iranian nation, the Islamic Republic of Iran expects Iraqi officials to seriously raise and follow up the case during Saddam Hussein's trial," he said. Iran would "provide all necessary evidence and documents to the special court for trial of Saddam."

Kharrazi said Iranian soldiers and civilians alike had been killed by the chemical weapons of Saddam's regime, which had also resorted to missile strikes on Tehran and other big cities during the protracted conflict in which some one million people were killed.

Iraq first agreed that Saddam ought to be held to account for the war during a visit to Baghdad by Kharrazi in May which paved the way for Jaafari's landmark trip.

Saddam was formally charged for the first time on Sunday in connection with the 1982 killing of 143 residents of a village northwest of Baghdad, but investigations are still continuing into other war crimes allegations against him.