Iran backs worldwide investigation into alleged chemical attack in Syria

It sends the right message - and not just to Syria and Russian Federation - and may well deter future chemical attacks.

During the press conference Lavrov acriticised the ability of the OPCW to carry out an investigation into the reported chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun, calling for American and Russian experts to join the investigation.

It's suspected that sarin gas was used in an attack on a northern Syrian town at the start of April.

The U.S. has blamed the Syrian government for launching a deadly chemical attack that killed over 80 people and struck a Syrian air force base in response.

"We held important talks with my colleagues [Syrian Foreign Minister] Walid Muallem and [Iranian Foreign Minister] Mohammad Javad Zarif, which allowed us to compare positions in connection with the latest developments surrounding the Syrian settlement", Lavrov said.

The central issue of the talks will be discussing measures to prevent the undermining of political settlement efforts in Syria in the context of the United States strike, the Russian foreign ministry said.

A fact-finding mission led by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is investigating the attack.

At the United Nations, Russia blocked a Security Council resolution Wednesday to denounce last week's chemical attack in Syria. "Frankly, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person", Trump said, referring to Assad. Putin and his allies are by far the dominant military power in eastern Syria.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow Wednesday that relations between Washington and Moscow, a key ally of the Damascus regime, were at a "low point".

This satellite image released by the U.S. Department of Defense shows a damage assessment image of Shayrat air base in Syria, following U.S. Tomahawk missile strikes, April 7, 2017.

Meanwhile on Thursday U.S. President Donald Trump said that "things will work out fine" between the United States and Russian Federation, only a day after he said U.S. "We insist on a most thorough, independent investigation into that incident".

Assad said he would permit an investigation "only if it is impartial and we are assured that impartial countries will take part", and that it won't be used for political ends.

He added that "within record-tight deadlines the parameters of that procedure were agreed on and a little more than one year later the OPCW said in its report that the whole declared amount of chemical weapons had been eliminated".

Separately, we must be clear that chemical weapons, like biological and nuclear weapons, constitute a class of weapons altogether different from conventional warfare, and their use is wholly unacceptable at any time and at any scale.

  • Jon Douglas