SWC Urges European Commission Vice-President Immediate Investigation of Reported EU Grant to Syrian Chemical Weapons

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Paris, 1 August 2012 

In a letter to European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Catherine Ashton of Upholland (pictured), the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, expressed outrage to learn from the Washington Post and other sources, that "a 2010 European Union grant for technical assistance to Syria of 14.6 million US dollars, was in fact used to expand Damascus' chemical weapons programme."

Samuels added, "According to United States diplomatic sources, 'Iran would provide the construction design and equipment to annually produce tens to hundreds of tons of precursors for VX, sarin, and mustard [gas]. Engineers from Iran’s DIO [Defense Industries Organization] were to visit Syria and survey locations for the plants...'"

The letter argued, "The complicity of Iran points to the uselessness of the 5+1 talks, which are but a cover for Teheran to complete its nuclear weoponization."

The letter additionally noted, "In 1991 and 1995, our Centre exposed over 200 European companies involved in sales of chemical and biological precursors to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya. Two years ago we identified 140 of those as recidivist, maintaining supplies to Iran."

Samuels stressed, "On the one hand, the EU has imposed a sanctions regime on such companies. On the other, the EU is, apparently, itself an indirect contributor to stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of genocidists."

The Centre suggested, "Until approprite measures are taken the EU seems hardly equipped to negotiate with a now proven duplicitous Iran or as a member of the Quartet for Middle East Peace."

"We urge you to launch an immediate investigation leading to the prosecution of those EU officials implicated in this travesty, as also steps to ensure transparency and accountability in grant auditing. It also behooves the European Commission to publicly condemn Iran and warn it of severe consequences for its irresponsible chemical belligerency," concluded Samuels.

For further information contact Dr. Shimon Samuels on 0033(0)609770158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).