Former president Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called on the government on Friday to press charges against ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein over his use of chemical weapons during the two neighbours' eight-year war. In a speech aired on TV he blasted the US and Iraqi interim government for omitting Iran-Iraq war from Saddam's crimes. "Why Saddam faces charges regarding several months of Kuwait occupation but not for the eight-year Iran-Iraq war?” former president Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani asked in a TV speech at the official Friday prayer ceremony in the Tehran University.
"The Iraqi court should review Saddam's crimes against Iran ... if not, it is because of America's orders," Rafsanjani said.
In an indictment hearing on Thursday in Baghdad, Saddam was told that he would face charges relating to seven alleged crimes committed over three decades.
They related to his invasion of Kuwait in 1990, suppressing uprisings by Kurds and Shiites after the 1991 Gulf war, ethnic cleansing of Kurds in 1987-88 and gassing Kurdish villagers in 1988 but no mention was made of the 1980-88 war against Iran. No reason was given as to why the Iran-Iraq war, in which nearly 1 million people from both sides died, was omitted.
After Saddam’s capture in December, Iran said it was preparing a criminal complaint to present to any international court that might try him over the Iran-Iraq war.
Rafsanjani accused the US of "imposing a shameful censorship" on the media over the coverage of Saddam's trial.
"Saddam should be tried in an open court," he said. "The dictator should be allowed to talk; Iraqis and Iranians also should be allowed to talk at the court as victims of Saddam's crimes, Rafsanjani said, adding filing such charges would serve to expose the Western support for the ousted Iraqi dictator, now in the legal custody of Iraq's interim government.
"We must press charges in Saddam's trial over the use of chemical weapons against people of our country," Rafsanjani added.
“We faced severe chemical attacks at the beginning of the war when world powers were giving Saddam the green light to do anything to prevent Iran from winning," Rafsanjani said.
"We were confronted with merciless, cunning and deceitful enemies who today claim to defend human rights," he added.
In official Friday prayers, clerics echoed Rafsanjani’s position, pressing the government to protest against the omission and bring charges against Saddam in relation to the 1980-88 war, which according to the UN Security Council resolution, had been started by Iraq.
According to official figure, Iran has 45,000 registered war veterans with chemical injuries who cost the regime around 20 million dollars a year to support, the Agence France Presse reports, adding that the status is of the Iranian complaint remains unclear.