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Musavi Denies Iran Is Producing Chemical Weapons

December 30, 1987

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Prime Minister Hussein Musavi of Iran today denied his country was producing outlawed chemical weapons, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said, contradicting an earlier report.

IRNA quoted the prime minister as telling Parliament on Sunday that Iran was producing ″sophisticated offensive chemical weapons,″ in violation of a 1925 Geneva agreement.

After a Cabinet meeting today, Musavi was quoted as telling reporters: ″The Islamic republic is capable of manufacturing chemical weapons and possesses the technology. But we will produce them only when Islam allows us and when we are compelled to do so.″

The IRNA reports were monitored in Nicosia. There was no explanation for the contradictory reports.

Also today, the Independent newspaper in London quoted pro-government Iranian sources today as saying Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had vetoed the use of chemical weapons on moral grounds.

The Independent, quoting informed sources in Tehran and the Libyan capital, Tripoli, said Iran agreed to supply Libya with Iranian-produced chemical weapons in exchange for advanced Soviet-made missiles.

Iraq has been accused several times of using chemical weapons in the 7-year Iran-Iraq war, but there has been no independent confirmation of Iraqi claims that the Iranians employed the banned weapons.

IRNA said Musavi was asked about reports that the Gulf Cooperation Council might send an envoy to Tehran to discuss peace efforts. In response, IRNA quoted him as saying: ″There have been some talks in this regard and messages have been sent so far.″

Tehran ″would be prepared to receive him and listen to their words,″ IRNA quoted Musavi as saying.

The six-member council, which includes Saudi Arabia and five Arab gulf allies, ended a four-day summit in Riyadh on Tuesday, calling on Iran to accept peace and urging the U.N. Security Council to implement a cease-fire resolution it adopted July 20.

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