Iran warned US about Sarin gas in Syria: Defense Minister
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Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan says Tehran had given the US information about the import of a chemical nerve agent to Syria by militants eight months ago. "Threats of a military strike under the pretext of using chemical weapons in Syria come as [the US] ignored Iran's warnings about Sarin gas being taken to Syria eight months ago and [thereby] practically paved the way for chemical attacks in Syria," Dehqan said on Monday "Therefore, [the US] wants [to launch] limited strikes in order to rebuild the shattered morale of terrorists [in Syria], weaken the operational capability of the Syrian armed forces and change the balance of operation in the favor of Takfiris," he added. He said that the US currently does not have the necessary operational capabilities to use military force and create strategic balance in Syria. The Iranian minister said US disregard for international demands to avoid violence and militarism and use approaches based on dialog and reconciliation to settle crises prove that peaceful and reconciliatory slogans of the US officials lack truth. He underlined the need for an inclusive political solution to the crisis in Syria and said "Sowing the seeds of warmongering and violence has never resulted in lasting peace and security." US President Barack Obama said on Saturday that he had decided to launch a military attack against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons and now seeks congressional consent for the move. Lawmakers will debate the issue upon return from recess on September 9. The call for military action against Syria intensified after foreign-backed opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21. Damascus has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the chemical attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation.