(Oct. 17, 2008)
by Shahriar Khateri, Public and International Relations
Currently housed in a building donated by the municipality of Tehran within the historic City Park, the Tehran Peace Museum is as much an interactive peace center as a museum. On June 29, 2007, a memorial for the poison gas victims of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88), along with a Peace Museum, was completed in a park in Tehran, the capital of Iran. These facilities were established by the Society for Chemical Weapons Victims Support (an Iranian NGO), the city of Tehran, some other NGOs, and individuals and groups in Hiroshima.
The museum coordinates a peace education program that holds workshops on humanitarian law, disarmament, tolerance, and peace education. At the same time, it hosts conferences on the culture of peace, reconciliation, international humanitarian law, disarmament, and peace advocacy.
Additionally, the museum houses a documentary studio that provides a workspace wherein the individual stories of victims of warfare can be captured and archived for the historical record. The museum’s peace library includes a collection of literature spanning topics from international law to the implementation of peace to oral histories of veterans and victims of war.
Permanent and rotating peace-related art exhibitions displaying the work of amateur international and Iranian artists are also housed in the museum complex. Finally, the Iranian secretariat for the international organization “Mayors for Peace” is housed in the Tehran Peace Museum.
Focus on Survivor Involvement
While visiting Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the founders of the Tehran Peace Museum realized the necessity of involving the victims of war in the creation of the museum. Only these individuals could provide credible accounts of the harsh realities of war and their correlating desire for peace. The most moving, enthusiastic, and relevant of these war survivors emerged as the Iranian victims of Saddam’s chemical weapons attacks, the majority of whom were already in contact with SCWVS. This group of victims has proven to be extremely passionate about sharing their stories and serving as living monuments to the atrocities of war.
Founding the Iranian Peace Museum Movement
The Tehran Peace Museum is a proud member of this tradition. Its founding began with a conversation between the founder of the Tehran-based Society for Chemical Weapons Victims Support (SCWVS) and a coordinator for the International Peace Museums Network. This, as well as a visit to Hiroshima, Japan by members of SCWVS a year before, fed into the desire for a museum in Tehran.
It was in this city where the suffering from atomic arms was able to convert most powerfully into a drive for peace manifested via a peace museum. This ability to use the intense suffering of war to highlight the need for peace made the museum’s founders realize Iran’s parallel suffering from chemical arms and the need for a parallel drive for peace.
Address: City Park (Parke shahr), Tehran, Iran
Days closed: Friday
(Originally published on October 6, 2008)
Photos of the poison gas victims of the Iran-Iraq War and the A-bomb victims of Hiroshima
Exterior of the Tehran Peace Museum