December 19, 2013

SF Bay Area President Dr. Bob Gould and freelance reporter Reese Erlich engaged an audience of nearly 50 people at a Berkeley home in November on the intersections of politics in Syria, the U.S. and Iran. Mr. Erlich spoke about his recent experience covering the war in Syria, including chemical weapons issues and the overall horrific nature of the conflict. He framed his remarks around the importance of promoting dialogue and peace between Iran and the U.S. and provided important political background on the recent negotiations between the two countries.

Dr. Gould complemented Mr. Erlich’s remarks, describing the work of PSR and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in promoting a Middle East zone free of all weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including nuclear weapons. He described his own participation in an IPPNW regional meeting in December 2011 where representatives of IPPNW affiliates from Europe and the Middle East issued a declaration of support for such complete regional disarmament. PSR and IPPNW continue to promote this WMD-free zone as a major regional initiative toward the overall goal of abolishing nuclear weapons around the world.

Dr. Gould also connected this effort to PSR’s current campaign to warn the world of the consequences of a regional nuclear war, such as one that could occur between India and Pakistan. He stated that even a hundred Hiroshima-sized weapons, representing one-half percent of total global nuclear arsenals, could cause worldwide crop failures that could lead to up to 2 billion deaths worldwide from famine.

Prompted by the audience, Dr. Gould spoke about PSR’s position on nuclear power. He described the dangers emanating from Fukushima, including the plume of radioactive material moving toward the west coast of North America and the potential contamination of our food, while focusing on the much more immediate hazards posed to the food supply of Japan. He explained concerns about the unstable situation of one of the damaged reactors in Fukushima and the call by PSR and IPPNW for a transparent global effort to safely remove and store the reactor’s spent fuel and for global experts to assure that the best possible outcome occurs, for Japan and the whole world. (For a personal account of his 2012 visit to Fukushima, read Dr. Gould’s article newsletter article: “From Hiroshima to Fukushima: Dual Threats of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power.”)

Click here to view the presentations by Mr. Erlich and Dr. Gould: Part 1 and Part 2.

The event was sponsored by Bridge of Hearts and the Dear Iran project.