TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Iran called on Iraq yesterday to carry out its death sentence on Saddam Hussein, saying the former dictator who waged an eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s was a criminal who deserved to die.
“We hope the fair, correct and legal verdict against this criminal … is enforced,” government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told a news conference here in Tehran on Monday.
On Sunday, an Iraqi court in Baghdad sentenced Saddam and two other senior members of his regime to death by hanging for crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 people in the northern town of Dujail. The victims were detained and tortured after a 1982 attempt to assassinate Saddam as he visited the town.
An Iraqi appeal court is expected to rule on the guilty verdict and death sentence by the middle of January.
“He is a criminal dictator. No doubt about it,” Elham said of Saddam. “We hope no pressure will be applied not to carry out this verdict.”
The spokesman said Iran hoped Saddam would continue to be tried for other crimes against humanity, including his invading Iran in 1980, starting a war that killed more than a million Iranians and Iraqis.
The suffering and losses in the war, which ended in 1988, are well remembered in Iran.
Elham rejected the suggestion that the execution of Saddam, a Sunni Muslim, would escalate the violence between Iraq’s Shiite and Sunni communities.
“It is very clear that such a suggestion is mischief-making. Saddam has both Shiite and Sunni blood on his hands. His very existence is anti-human,” he said.
If the appeal court upholds the death sentence, Iraq’s three-man presidential council will sign papers for Saddam’s execution. The hanging must be carried out within 30 days of the appeal court’s decision.
This is while Iraqi President Jalal Talebani said on Monday that Saddam’s execution does not need his or anybody else’s signature once he is convicted by the court.