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Iran leader condemns chemical weapons use in Syria

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August 24, 2013 08:49 AM EST | AP

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TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's new president has condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war without blaming a side for it.

The comments by President Hasan Rouhani on Saturday, broadcast by Iranian state television, come as his government is a major backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

It also follows comments Wednesday by Iran's foreign minister, who blamed Syrian rebels for the use of chemical weapons.

In his speech at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Rouhani spoke about how Iran previously was the victim of chemical warfare during its 1980s war with Iraq. The president said the death of innocent people through the use of chemical weapons was "very distressing."

Rouhani did not elaborate on what his government knew about the chemical weapons use in Syria.