Report: Iran signed chemical weapons agreement this year with Syria
Geostrategy-Direct, www. geostrategy-direct. com, November 1, 2005
LONDON - Iran plans to assist Syria in the construction of up to five
chemical weapons installations, according to a published report. The
facilities would produce chemical weapons precursors as part of a plan to
ensure indigenous Syrian capability.
The London-based Jane's Defense Weekly said Syria hopes to construct the CW
facilities by late 2006. The magazine said Teheran and Syria signed an
agreement in mid-2005 for CW technical assistance. Under the agreement,
Iran would construct the CW precursor facilities and train Syrian personnel.
The facilities would also contain equipment to detect CW agents in the air.
Jane's said Syria, which has not signed the 1993 Chemical Warfare
Convention, intends to achieve independent capability in CW production. The
facilities were designed to produce precursors for VX and sarin nerve agents
and mustard blister agent.
"This project is unprecedented and millions of U. S. dollars have been
allocated to implement it," a diplomatic source told Jane's. "The project
includes building major facilities, including advanced equipment to produce
tens to hundreds of tons of CW precursors per year that are sufficient for
CW industrial manufacturing pilot production. "
Syria's CW program has been operated by the Scientific Studies and Research
Center. The center has produced VX and sarin agents, but failed to achieve
independent production of precursors.
Under the accord, Iran, a signatory to the CWC, would help Syria end
dependency on the import of precursors. Iranian engineers and scientists
have been working in Syria to assess requirements.
Teheran has been the leading supplier of CW precursors to Syria. In 2004,
Iran exported sulfide, hydrochloric acid and ethylene glycol- MEG for Syrian
missile warheads and aerial bombs.
Jane's said Iran and Syria have not yet signed a contract. The magazine
said construction of the facilities would begin in late 2005.