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The “Symphony of Coughs 3” Webinar Held

The “Symphony of Coughs 3” Webinar Held

The Symphony of Coughs 3 webinar was held on the occasion of the anniversary of the chemical attack on Sardasht on June 30, 2021. The meeting which lasted from 2-4 pm, was held by Tehran Peace Museum (TPM), Iranian Center for International Criminal Law (ICICL), Communications and International Affairs Center of the Municipality of Tehran and the Organization for Defending Sardasht Victims of Chemical Weapons (ODVCW) on zoom platform. This meeting was held with the purpose of investigating aspects of legal prosecution of the use of chemical weapons (CW) against Iran and answering questions on this topic. It was a follow up on “Symphony of Coughs 1” and “Symphony of Coughs 2” seminars previously held by TPM.

At the beginning of this meeting, the video message of the Director- General of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Mr. Fernando Arias was played on the occasion of the anniversary of the chemical attack on Sardasht. After that, Mr. Seyyed Mahdi Parsayee, Representative of the National Authority of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke about the capacity of the OPCW for pursuing the rights of chemical warfare victims.

Afterwards, Dr. Seyyed Hossein SadatMeydani, Faculty member at the School of International Relations of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke about the international legal persecution and responsibility of Iraqi governments and corporations supporting it for the use of CW. He first spoke about the basis, contexts and legal documentation in the international legal system and then described the legal challenges ahead in pursuing Iran’s claims on the use of CW and then made his suggestions on the issue.

Then Mohammad Hadi Zakerhossein, faculty member at the Tehran University and director of ICICL, spoke about the criminal prosecution of the perpetrators of the chemical attack by Iraq in national and international tribunals. He first spoke about the international humanitarian law and the right to access justice, citing the example of Mr. Frans van Anraat case and divided legal action into two sections: advocacy and legal (as in investigation and prosecution), and then explained the different dimensions of each.

In the next part, Mr. Abdolrahim Karimi Vahed, President of the Organization for Defending Sardasht Victims of Chemical Weapons (ODVCW), spoke about the measures taken for the victims of Sardasht and explained the concerns and needs of the CW survivors of Sardasht, including identifying all of the victims. He also stressed the importance of legal action.

Then, Ms. Shabnam Sheikhi, a chemical warfare survivor from Sardasht, spoke about her and her family’s experience following the chemical attack on Sardasht, her life as a chemical warfare survivor and her activities in the field of raising awareness about the consequences of CW.

In the final part, Ms. Sahar Tafreshi, a volunteer at TPM and the host of the meeting, explained some of the activities of TPM in relation to survivors and victims of CW. After stating the history of establishment of the Society for Chemical Weapons Victims Support (SCWVS) and TPM, various projects of the museum, including The Oral History of Chemical Warfare survivors, workshops, meetings and related event such as the Sardasht Rally; she introduced international collaborations with organizations and associations such as the MOCT NPO from Japan, Mayor for Peace and OPCW.

In this event, participants also asked their questions from the guest-speakers in various sections, and the speakers discussed and exchanged views with each other.