UK & World News
Saddam's Chemical Attacks On Iran 'Aided By US'
Recently declassified CIA files show the US knew that Iraq was using chemical weapons in the 1980s, but did nothing to stop Saddam Hussein, a report says.
At one point during the Iran-Iraq war, the US even shared intelligence with Baghdad that it knew would lead to a chemical attack, Foreign Policy magazine claimed.
The report comes as President Barack Obama is considering how to respond to an alleged chemical attack by Bashar al Assad's regime against Syrian rebels.
According to the journal, Washington knew that Iraq was using chemical weapons but hid that evidence at a time when Iran, President Ronald Reagan's archenemy, was trying to prove it at the UN.
Foreign Policy cited interviews with former intelligence operatives and CIA documents uncovered amid other declassified material at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
"They are tantamount to an official American admission of complicity in some of the most gruesome chemical weapons attacks ever launched," the journal wrote.
There was no comment from the CIA.
Iraq began using mustard gas in 1983.
Retired Air Force Colonel Rick Francona, who was a military attache in Baghdad in 1988, told Foreign Policy that he first became aware of Iraq's use of chemical weapons against Iran in 1984.
The report said top US officials were regularly informed over the nerve gas attacks, but did nothing to prevent them or make them public.
"The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn't have to. We already knew," Mr Francona is quoted as saying.
Years later, in 1987, the US shared information with Baghdad about Iran's military positions, the report says.
The use of chemical weapons in war is banned under the Geneva Protocol of 1925, which the US has ratified.
Hundreds are believed to have died in the alleged Syria attack earlier this month.