UN, NATO, Iran warn Syria over chemical weapon use

The United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Iran warned Syria on Monday against using chemical weapons during its large-scale conflict with anti-government insurgents.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN's secretary general, said that if Syria used chemical weapons during an attack there would be dire consequences. He said that chemical weapons have no place in the 21st century and that using the weapons would be a significant crime, Al Arabiya News reports.

"I have expressed grave concern with statements made by representatives of the Syrian government about the existence of chemical weapons and their possible use," Ki-moon said, according to Al Arabiya News. "I once gain emphasize the fundamental responsibility of the Syrian government to ensure the safety and security of any such stockpile."

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO's chief, said that the organization is greatly concerned about the chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria. He stressed that the solution to the conflict should be a political solution, not a military one.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's foreign minister, said that Iran could not support any country, even an ally like Syria, if it used chemical weapons.

"If any country... uses weapons of mass destruction, that is the end of the validity, eligibility, legality, whatever you name it, of that government," Salehi said, according to AFP. "Weapons of mass destruction, as we said it, is against humanity, something that is not acceptable."

At least 30,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict since it began in March 2011, Al Arabiya reports.