Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria but said that the world has yet to figure out which party used them.
Rouhani called on the international community to prevent chemical weapons from being used after acknowledging, for the first time, that they had been used in Syria.
“Many of the innocent people of Syria have been injured and martyred by chemical agents. This is unfortunate,” Rouhani said, according to the Iranian Students’ News Aency, ISNA. “We completely and strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons.”
Iran’s Mehr news agency reported that the president called on the world community “to use all its power to prevent the use of such weapons anywhere in the world, particularly in Syria.”
Iran has previously pointed its finger at the Syrian rebels and “terror groups” fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad for being behind chemical weapons attacks.
Syrian anti-government activists accused Assad’s regime of carrying out a toxic gas attack outside Damascus this week and have reported death tolls ranging from 136 to 1,300. If confirmed, even the most conservative tally would make it the deadliest alleged chemical attack in Syria’s 2 1/2-year civil war, which the UN says has killed over 100,000 people.
The government has denied the allegations, saying they are “absolutely baseless.”
On Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Syrian government Friday to respond “promptly and positively” to his request for UN experts to investigate the alleged chemical weapons attack.
In a separate statement Saturday, Rouhani commented on Israel’s air raids on terror targets in southern Lebanon early Friday morning, which came hours after four rockets from Lebanon were fired into northern Israel.
The Iranian president said Israel reaps the benefits of such regional instability.
“These measures indicate that Israel is against the Islamic Republic [of Iran] and is against the whole region, including Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt,” Rouhani said, according to the Iranian news agency IRNA. ”The Zionist regime enjoys such instability in the region.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.