TEHRAN, Iran – Iran wants Saddam Hussein (search) to face justice for alleged atrocities during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war (search), in which more than 1 million people were killed or wounded, officials said Monday.
A spokesman also said Iran wants the court to expose which nations sold weapons to Saddam -- a reference to allegations that the U.S. military supplied him during the Iran-Iraq war.
The spokesman, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, said an international court should try Saddam first for crimes against Iraq, and then for crimes against Iran. He said Iran was already preparing to file a complaint against Saddam for "war crimes" that began when Iraqi forces invaded in 1980.
"The priority goes to the Iraqi people to file a complaint against Saddam ... but it doesn't mean others do not have the right to sue him at international bodies," Ramezanzadeh said Monday.
U.S. forces captured Saddam on Saturday outside his hometown of Tikrit (search). President Bush has made no commitment to turn him over unconditionally to Iraq but said Saddam must face a public trial and Iraqis should be involved in the process.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi echoed the calls for a public trial Monday. He said Iran has plenty of evidence to charge Saddam with crimes against its people, particularly during the Iran-Iraq war.
"Many people in Iran are victims of the atrocities of Saddam Hussein during the invasion of Iran," Kharrazi said from Madrid.
Calls for Saddam to face justice in an international court contradicted a demand from Iranian judge Mahmoud Shiraj, who wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday asking him to intercede so that Saddam could stand trial in Iran.
Ramezanzadeh said "it must also be made clear who armed this dictator to push the region into three big crises," an apparent reference to the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf war of 1991, and this year's invasion of Iraq by a U.S.-led alliance.
Several countries sold weapons to Iraq during the war, including the Soviet Union, France and Egypt. The United States is known to have provided intelligence and civilian helicopters that Iraq converted to military use.
But Iranian leaders, and people in the street, believe that Washington both supported Iraq during the conflict and supplied it with weapons.
A tribunal established in Iraq last week is also expected try cases committed against Iran.