Iran Seizes Shirin Ebadi's Nobel Prize Medal
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Borzou, welcome back to the program.
BORZOU DARAGAHI: Thank you so much.
INSKEEP: What do you know about this incident?
DARAGAHI: This is something that totally outraged the Norwegian authorities. Shirin Ebadi has been under pressure, ever since, really, she won this prize - has been continually harassed and intimidated by Iranian authorities. But never before has a Norwegian spoken out so much about this type of harassment as with this incident.
INSKEEP: Any sense of why the Iranian authorities would take this step now?
DARAGAHI: I cannot repeat some of the things that Iranian officials and Iranian analysts have said, publicly, about her in recent years.
INSKEEP: Well, of course, when she was awarded that Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, it was seen as something that would give her more influence or even more protection as she argued for changes in a country that was resisting change.
DARAGAHI: Well, and indeed when she was awarded that prize, it was still under the relatively moderate presidency of Mohammed Khatami, a different era. The times were changing, towards the ascendancy of the hardliners which you have now. But it was a different climate, and things have steadily gotten worse for people like Shirin Ebadi since that time.
INSKEEP: And we should mention also, there are a number of people who protested against Iran's government after a disputed election in June, who now face death sentences from this same government.
DARAGAHI: Indeed. They're facing very, very stiff penalties. Probably they will not be executed, but some people have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms, and some have been sentenced to death. These people need legal representation, which people like Shirin Ebadi provide.
INSKEEP: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.
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