Paris, 28 Oct. (IPS) As Washington announced last week new economic sanctions against Iran, including three banks and most importantly, the Corps of the Revolutionary Guards, Mrs. Shirin Ebbadi, an outspoken lawyer and winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize expressed concern at American war mongering.
Mrs. Ebadi, who was in Paris last week, spoke with Le Figaro’s Renaud Girard and suggested that Iran should heed demands by the United Nations and suspend enriching uranium.
Political sanctions instead of economic, minimising political relationships with a dictatorial régime, that makes sense.
Below comes the interview, as posted by the right of the centre newspaper:
Le Figaro - Are you worried about a possible war between America and Iran?
Shirin Ebadi - Yes, I am anxious. Like all the Iranian people. When George Bush and Condi Rice evoke the "option" of a bombardment of Iran, there is, of course, what to be anxious.
Le Figaro - What could prevent that this war takes place?
Ebadi - Reason, from the two sides. On the Iranian side, the reason would be to listen to the recommendations of United Nations Organisation. It is not reasonable for the Iranians to be locked up behind a wall and say that we have no bond with the external world. The whole world requires of us to suspend our programme of enrichment of uranium. It is not reasonable not to do it. On the American side, the reason would be to learn the lessons from their catastrophic military adventure in Iraq. It is not necessary that America attacks Iran militarily. The Iranian people are proud and resistant people. It would be defended savagely.
Iran says it will continue enriching uranium
Le Figaro - Do the commercial sanctions constitute a better tool to lead Teheran to change its nuclear policy?
Ebadi - The economic sanctions are not a good thing, because always they penalize the population and never the leaders. The Iranian population will never approve the economic sanctions. These sanctions can, on the contrary, unite the people against the West. On the other hand, I believe in the effectiveness of the political sanctions. To minimize political relationships with a dictatorial régime, that makes sense. Ever since the nuclear issue became that important, there is a tendency, in the West, to forget the increase in the violations of human rights in Iran. The situation of the women, their freedom, is reduced everyday. The freedom of expression is ridiculed: the independent newspapers are closed by the regime and some journalists are thrown in prison. The demonstrations of students are repressed hard.
Le Figaro - Do you preach the separation of politics from the religion in Iran?
Ebadi - I am support it. To mix politic with religion makes it possible to the Iranian politicians to misuse the deep religious beliefs of the large majority of the Iranians. Today, whoever does not have the full support of the religious cannot be presented at the elections. But it is not the only obstacle. There is also the control of the politic by the Revolutionary Guards.
Le Figaro - Can one, one day, to reconsider the principle of the government of the clerics in Shi’a Islam in Iran?
Ebadi - That needs a referendum. All depends on the will of the Iranian, the capacity of locking the regime, and, of course of the international situation. ENDS EBADI 281007
Editor’s note: Highlights are by IPS