After settling in, our Fellowship of Reconciliation delegation embarked on some emotional meetings.
We visited the Society of Chemical Weapons Victims Support as one of our first excursions in Tehran. During the 1980-1988, Iraq-Iran war, where one million people died, the U.N. claims that Iraq used 19,500 chemical bombs. Many of the bombs and chemical agents were provided by western countries.
Iranians revere veterans of this war and consider many of the casualties as martyrs. With a great sense of justice, these veterans speak in solidarity with the victims of nuclear weapons. They work for peace and for ridding the world of weapons of mass destruction. In closing his emotional remarks a chemical weapons victim said, “my eyes, lungs and skin was affected, yet I work for world peace.”
The next day, we drove through Tehran’s chaotic traffic to a long-term care facility for war victims. There we heard the same message: we must abolish weapons of mass destruction and find ways of diplomacy instead of war. In my travels, I find it interesting that the majority of those affected by war, oppose war. Yet, those who send young women and men to war rarely possess this experience.
Later in the day, we navigated the small alleys of a Bazaar, where like in the U.S. you can buy a fair amount of consumer junk. Unlike home, some of the small shops overflowed with colorful produce, olives and other tasty treats. My favorite little shop blends fresh mango, strawberry, orange and other juices for a mere fifty cents a glass. I sipped on strawberry that day.
Stay tuned for an account of our visit with a Vice President and our travels to the namesake of the wine, Shiraz.