AN artist and peace campaigner are travelling to Iran today (Friday) as part of a delegation to see how international sanctions are affecting the population.
Emily Johns and author Milan Rai, of Gensing Road, St Leonards, will be on a 10-day visit organised by the Fellowship of Reconciliation USA.
The pair, who are members of the anti-war group Justice Not Vengeance (JNV), are visiting several cities including the capital Tehran.
Emily, who visited Iran in 2006, said: “In this time of diplomatic hostility between Britain and Iran, it is important for ordinary people to strengthen person-to-person contact between our countries and to interrupt the build-up to a possible war.”
The current UN sanctions against Iran came about after the country was accused of producing nuclear weapons. The UN voted to impose further sanctions over the issue in June 2010.
Milan said: “We will be finding out about the human reality of the sanctions and what ordinary Iranians feel about the risk of war. Ordinary people in Iran have suffered a lot because of these sanctions but they have not affected the elite and those in power.
“We do not seem to be much closer to this crisis being resolved.”
Iran holds nine per cent of world oil reserves and Milan added that the country needed to sell this in order to meet foreign exchange import needs and help raise living standards of its growing population.
The peace activists will be reporting on their journey at 2pm on Sunday, February 24 at the Friends Meeting House, South Terrace.
Emily Johns plans to exhibit images drawn from her visit to Iran at the Hastings Arts Forum in Marina, St Leonards in July.
During their trip, the couple will be updating their delegation blog daily at www.drawingparadise.org.