The Middle East Treaty Organization (METO) extends its warmest congratulations to the governments of all those states that have ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), a treaty which prohibits the development, testing, production, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. Under the terms of the treaty, the treaty will come into force in 90 days from today.
On the 20th of August, 2020, IPPNW and METO held a joint webinar targeted at stimulating disarmament initiatives from within the Middle East titled, “Building the movement of health workers to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe involving nuclear weapons”. The idea was inspired by the work of the original founders of IPPNW, Soviet and US physicians, who were among the first to recognise the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons on human health and the dangers they pose to human civilisation and even the very survival of human beings as a species. Almost 100 people from all over the world registered and well over 50% of them attended.
With a banner hanging on the Maryhouse stage behind them reading “Pope Francis Proclaims: The very Possession of Nuclear Weapons is to be Firmly Condemned”, Emad Kiyaei rises, “First of all, thank you so much. Stepping into this space has been truly profound, knowing that so many here have fought for a such variety of injustices in this country and abroad and how this has contributed to us all.
A quick note, this is quite rare, and not a joke, when we have an Israeli (Sharon Dolev), a Palestinian from Jordan (moderator Dina Saadallah), and an Iranian (himself) sitting together to speak about the issues of war and weapons of mass destruction.” Indeed, it’s extremely rare, a personal risk for each. They came directly from their presentation at the United Nations, the culmination of years of effort, during the conference for a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East, with diplomats from many countries intrigued as to how this could happen. With animosities, walls, rhetoric so high, and wars murdering all involved, where to start? Indeed the subtitle for their presentation of METO (The Middle East Treaty Organization) is “Achieving the Possible”. Several countries (Sweden, Ireland, etc) had already given their support for this brave, clearly needed effort.
On October 2nd, the international day of nonviolence, Abolition 2000 held its fourth webinar on issues related to our goals of eliminating nuclear weapons and nuclear power, this time on the crucial issue of the Iran Nuclear Deal, the JCPOA, which came into force in 2015 and which President Trump has apparently dedicated his presidency to destroying.
Three speakers: Emad Kiyaei from the Middle East Treaty Organisation project; Tarja Cronberg, from the SIPRI European security program, and; Jamal Abdi, president of the US-based, National Iranian American Council, shared their thoughts on how we have reached the situation we’re in, what the different interests in play are, and how events may pan out in the near future, with the 2020 NPT Review Conference on the horizon. The webinar was moderated by Abolition 2000 committee member, Sharon Dolev.
This unremarkable title for an evening event last Wednesday at the Framed.berlin cultural centre did, in fact, draw attention.
Discussion events are not necessarily a big crowd-puller nowadays and most people prefer to look away rather than listen when it comes to nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, about 80 people came to the event, which had only been published shortly ahead of time.
Is it really so unusual for an Iranian and an Israeli to talk to each other? Or has the increasing tension between the USA and Iran in the nuclear conflict sparked interest?