In the Zone: METO’s Sharon and Emad speak at the Nuclear Ban Forum in Vienna

METO directors, Sharon Dolev and Emad Kiyaei, spoke at the first day of the Nuclear Ban Forum, hosted by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on June 18. They hosted an hour-long workshop called “In the Zone: the TPNW and the Middle East.” Both Sharon and Emad discussed the possibility of establishing a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East and announced the new METO campaign ‘It’s About Time.’

The new campaign seeks to put pressure on nations to establish a timeline to disarm. The audience was enthusiastic, with the seats being full and people standing in the back to hear what the Israeli and the Iranian had to say.

Sharon began the workshop by introducing herself and her background in nuclear disarmament as an Israeli. She spoke to her realisation that Israel had to disarm and her desire to promote disarmament in her country. She then discussed the difficulties in disarming Israel, predominantly stemming from the fact that Israel has no direct nuclear adversary and thus the establishment of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East would be essential in attempting to disarm Israel and advocating for peace in the region.

Emad spoke after Sharon explaining the Middle East Treaty Organisation and discussing the different projects within the organisation and what their aims are besides just a WMD Free Zone. These include the desire for a united Middle East, the implementation of the treaty, and the belief in the possible. He introduced the role of Iran and how Iran is viewed in global politics as well as their role in nuclear negotiations.

During the Q&A hands instantly went up and audience members were eager to hear what Sharon and Emad had to say about the topics that they cared about. Questions asked included the possibility of a unified Arab World through the establishment of a WMD Free Zone and questions about Israel’s use of WMDs against Palestine as conflict between the two peoples continues.

At the end of the workshop, participants filed out discussing with each other how interested they were in the work of the Middle East Treaty Organisation. As METO continues its involvement in the nuclear ban week in Vienna, delegates are excited to share their thoughts on and belief in a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone as well as express urgency in the need to establish a timeline for disarmament.

Published by Britt Gronemeyer

Britt Gronemeyer is a third year student at the University of St Andrews. She is working towards a joint degree in Modern History and Middle Eastern Studies. She also writes for her school’s Law Review, focusing on International Law and Freedom of the Press.