14 January 2005

U.S. Monitors Iranian Action against Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi

State Dept says human rights protections deteriorating in Iran

The U.S. government is closely following the Iranian government's actions against Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi and the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran, the State Department said in response to a question taken at the January 13 press briefing. The response to the question was posted later in the day.

Following is the text of the question and the response:

(begin excerpt)

Office of the Spokesman
January 13, 2005


Iran: Reports of Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi Facing Arrest

Question: What is the State Department's reaction to reports that Iranian Nobel Prize-winning author Shirin Ebadi faces arrest if she does not appear before an Iranian court?

Answer: We have seen these reports. The continued harassment and arrest of proponents of moderation, pluralism, and political reform, as evidenced not only by this incident, but also by the recent Iranian decision to close several reform newspapers, are in violation of international standards of human rights.

Nobel laureate Ms. Ebadi has worked tirelessly on behalf of all Iranians, with a focus on the rights of women and children, and was both the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel peace prize in its 102 year-old history.

We will continue to follow closely the Government's actions against Ms. Ebadi and others as well as the deteriorating situation in Iran, and will continue to raise this issue and our grave concern over the worsening human rights situation in Iran with friends and allies in the region.

(end excerpt)

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