Iraq signed on Tuesday to an international treaty banning chemical weapons, the United Nations announced.
The treaty will come into force for Iraq in 30 days' time, making it the 186th nation to join the first multilateral pact to ban, with international verification, an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.
In 1988, Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, gained notoriety for using chemical weapons against Kurds in the northeast of the country.
A military campaign against Kurds code-named Anfal -- Spoils of War -- killed tens of thousands. The best known attack was on the town of Halabja, where 5,000 people were estimated to have been gassed to death.
Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majeed, dubbed "Chemical Ali" for his role in leading the campaign against the Kurds, has twice been sentenced to death for that and other crimes but has yet to be executed due to disputes within Iraq's government.
A U.N. statement quoted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is the depositary of the CWC, as congratulating Iraq on its decision to accede, as it demonstrates its commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation.
The most widely used chemical weapons over the past century have been mustard gas, chlorine and nerve gas.
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