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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 28th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Our title sounds crazy – we know it – but so were Lula’s embrace,  and the Cuban, Venezuelan, and Malaysian votes at the IAEA. When world leaders tell us that enhancing nuclear will have to be part of the energy mix of the future, they just allow for these phenomena.
IRAN DEFENDS SEIZING NOBEL LAUREATE’S ASSETS
27 November 2009, From The SanFranciscoSentinel.com
BY NAZILA FATHI
The New York Times

Iran on Friday denounced charges by the Norwegian government that it had illegally confiscated a Nobel Peace Prize winner’s medal and frozen her bank account, the IRNA news agency reported. Iran called the action an interference into its internal affairs and said the winner, Shirin Ebadi, owed money to the government in taxes.

“We are surprised that Norwegian officials can make such hasty and biased comments and disregard the laws and regulations of other countries,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, was quoted as saying, adding that Ms. Ebadi, a human rights lawyer, had refused to pay taxes on her prize.

nobel-nov-27
Nobel Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi

Mr. Mehmanparast denied that Ms. Ebadi’s medal, which she won in 2003, had been confiscated, but his comments indicated that her assets had been frozen.

“We do not understand how Norwegian officials are trying to justify people’s negligence to pay tax,” he said.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Iran had confiscated Ms. Ebadi’s Nobel medal and her diploma from a bank box and confiscated her account. It summoned Iran’s chargé d’affaires to protest the confiscation and expressed “grave concern” about the treatment of Ms. Ebadi’s husband, Javad Tavassolian, who it said had been arrested and severely beaten in Tehran.

Iran has demanded about $400,000 in taxes on Ms. Ebadi’s prize money, which amounted to $1.3 million. Ms. Ebadi has said that under Iranian law, there are no taxes on such prizes.

The measure appears to be an effort by the government to pressure Ms. Ebadi, 62, who is an outspoken critic of the government and human rights violations.

She left Iran shortly before the disputed June 12 election won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which set off the largest protests in the country since the 1979 revolution.

Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a lawyer in Tehran and a founding member of Ms. Ebadi’s human rights group, said Ms. Ebadi’s prize money was used to help prisoners of conscience and their families, according to Agence France-Presse.

“The account has been blocked by the officials and they do not allow withdrawals,” Mr. Dadkhah said. “This is illegal as blocking and confiscation should be the decision of a court where evidence is presented for such an act. It is politicized.”

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