OPCW Director-General meets Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs

Discussion focuses on the way forward in implementing the Convention and providing adequate medical care for victims of chemical weapons attacks

18 May 2023

THE HAGUE, Netherlands—18 May 2023—The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Fernando Arias, met with the Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Mr Reza Najafi, on the sidelines of the Fifth Review Conference (RC-5) taking place from 15 to 19 May in The Hague.

The Director-General and the Deputy Foreign Minister discussed contemporary issues in disarmament and non-proliferation and their impact on the implementation of the Convention. Ambassador Arias briefed the Deputy Foreign Minister on the Organisation’s efforts to counter the threat of use of chemical weapons and strengthen international cooperation and capacity building in chemical emergency preparedness in Member States. The Director-General underscored the important role of the OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (ChemTech Centre) in enhancing the Organisation’s activities in all areas of work relevant to the implementation of the Convention.

“The object and purpose of the Convention will not be realised without its universal membership and total destruction of declared chemical weapons stockpiles. These are imperative to be fulfilled and the role of the OPCW is crucial in this regard,” the Deputy Foreign Minister said.

“It is a legal and a moral commitment and responsibility upon all of us to ensure that victims of chemical weapons get adequate medical support and assistance. Unfortunately, imposition of unilateral sanctions has exacerbated the health and medication of the victims of chemical weapons in Iran. We commend the OPCW Director-General’s efforts to find a way to meet their urgent medical needs and also request him to continue his good offices in this regard,” he emphasised.

“The Fifth Review Conference needs to have a consensus-based outcome to draw a road map for next five years of the OPCW,” the Deputy Foreign Minister added.

“I welcome the discussion with the Iranian Government on areas of collaboration to eliminate the use, threat, and re-emergence of chemical weapons. Joint action by all States Parties is crucial to achieve OPCW’s mandate to safeguard and advance the global norm against chemical weapons,” the Director-General said.

“RC-5 presents an excellent opportunity to Member States to assess the status of the Convention’s operation, set priorities for the Organisation for the upcoming years and ensure that it has adequate resources to deliver on all its mandates,” the Director-General added. 


The Islamic Republic of Iran has been an active member of the OPCW since the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997. Iran is a member of the Executive Council, the OPCW’s executive organ, which is charged with promoting the effective implementation of and compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as supervising the activities of the Organisation’s Technical Secretariat.

As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

Over 99% of all declared chemical weapon stockpiles have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

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