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Chemical Warfare in the Iraq–Iran War

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Publisher: SIPRI
May, 1984

Allegations of the use of chemical weapons have been frequent during the IraqIran War. One of the instances reported by Iran has been conclusively verified by an international team dispatched to Iran by the UN Secretary-General.

Both Iran (1929) and Iraq (1931) are parties to the Geneva Protocol, which prohibits the use of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices, as well as the use of bacteriological methods of warfare. The UN Security Council has issued a statement condemning the use of chemical weapons during the Gulf War. It remains uncertain whether the sources of supply were indigenous or external. Export controls have been placed on certain chemicals that could be used in the production of mustard and nerve gases.

In this Fact Sheet, SIPRI provides background information on the international law which has been violated, the two poison gases which the UN team identified in its samples, and the possible origins of the chemical weapons used in the IraqIran War.