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Iranian expert criticizes US for reluctance to charge Saddam with unleashing Iran-Iraq war

Hushang Amirahmadi, a political scientist in charge of the American-Iranian Council, has criticized the United States for its reluctance to charge the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein with unleashing the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The US is trying to avoid the topic as a highly sensitive one to it. The Americans deny that Hussein was the aggressor in that conflict, this despite the fact that the United Nations recognized him as such a long time ago, the expert said in a RIA Novosti interview.

Earlier this week, the Iraqi judiciary charged Saddam with several major crimes, including the murder of religious and political activists, the use of poison gas against Iraqi Kurds in 1988, and the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. But the indictment makes no mention of Iraq's aggression against the neighboring Iran over a territorial dispute. This war, which spanned the 1980-to-1988 period, claimed about 2 million lives on both sides to become one of the bloodiest standoffs of the 20th century.

It is no secret that the Ronal Reagan Administration provided aid for Iraq throughout that war, supplying it with double-purpose hardware and with intelligence information about the maneuvers of Iranian troops.

Given the above, it is highly unlikely that the United States will be willing to have the former Iraqi dictator recall the details of its involvement in the conflict, Mr. Amirahmadi said. "Iran is playing the same role for the US today as Iraq used to. There are outstanding problems between Iran and America, and the United States doesn't think it should defend Iran in any way," our interviewee pointed out.

On the other hand, even those charges that have been brought against Saddam are hard to consider outside the context of the Iran-Iraq war, the expert said. To illustrate his point, he cited Saddam's use of poison gas against the Kurdish population of Iraq.

Saddam made the step because he believed that the Kurds had betrayed Iraq's national interests by siding with Iran, Mr. Amirahmadi recalled. "I believe the Americans are wrong in trying to avoid the Iranian theme as this makes it clear to the global community that the trial over Saddam won't be a fair one. It raises only those issues that can serve US interests," RIA Novosti's interviewee said in conclusion.