Iranian poison gas victims visit Hiroshima

by Mayumi Nagasato, Staff Writer

On August 5, eight poison gas victims from Iran visited Hiroshima to attend the Peace Memorial Ceremony and meet with three A-bomb survivors at a hospital in the city. The two groups then exchanged views on pursuing a total ban on WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and promoting peace education.

The Iranians were among those attacked by poison gas during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and are still suffering from damage to their respiratory system, eyes, and skin. Takashi Teramoto, 73, Emiko Okada, 71, and Terashi Okada, 80, residents of Hiroshima, greeted the guests from Iran.

Mohammad Hossein Shegarf Nakhaei, 46, said, “I had a severe skin reaction as a result of the poison gas. When I saw the photos of the A-bomb survivors at Peace Memorial Museum, I felt as if I were looking at myself during the Iran-Iraq War.” Mr. Teramoto recalled, “My friend carried me on his back as we fled from the fire caused by the bomb. He died two months later.”

Both sides reaffirmed the inhumanity of WMD and pledged to “advance peace on the grassroots level.” The Iranian group proposed that Iran help spread the peace education activities that Hiroshima has been engaged in.

Nearly 100,000 people are believed to have been affected by poison gas attacks in Iran. The Iranian group, totaling 15 people, arrived in Hiroshima on August 2 with the support of MOCT, an NPO based in Hiroshima. This is the fifth time such a delegation from Iran has come to Hiroshima to attend the Peace Memorial Ceremony.

(Originally published on August 6, 2008)

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