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US To Accuse Iran Of Violating Chemical Weapons Treaty

NETHERLANDS -- An exterior view on the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, April 18, 2018

The Trump administration is poised to accuse Iran of violating an international treaty that bans chemical weapons, two U.S. officials said Friday.

The officials said the administration plans to announce next week that Iran is not complying with the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons.

The non-compliance finding does not allege that Iran has used chemical weapons but rather that it has maintained facilities and equipment to produce them. The finding is based on recent intelligence, according to the officials who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The determination does not carry immediate U.S. penalties but could be used to file a complaint against Iran at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, The Hague-based 193-member body that oversees the treaty.

Lawmakers were notified of the impending determination on Friday and an announcement is expected as early as Monday, according to the officials.

The finding is part of the administration's effort to isolate Iran after withdrawing from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal in May and earlier this month re-imposing all U.S. sanctions that had been eased under the accord.

President Donald Trump and his top national security aides have vowed to impose a "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran to force it to halt destabilizing activities in the Middle East and beyond.