Sunday, April 23, 2006

Iranian Nobel Laureate Says U.S. Invasion Would Face Fierce Resistance

Shirin Ebadi [right], 58, the 2003 winner of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, commented to journalists in Paris, France that any U.S. invasion of her home country of Iran would be met with fierce resistance by the Iranian people. Despite her lengthy record of human rights work and the fact that Ebadi has been a longtime critic of Iran's revolutionary government, she is also first and foremost an Iranian nationalist, who, although critical of the current regime in Tehran, is opposed to foreign meddling in the country's affairs.

"We [the Iranians] will not allow an American soldier to set foot in Iran," said Ebadi. "We will defend our country till the last drop of blood."

Ebadi, who has long called for Iran's regime to allow increased democratization, also stated that U.S. intervention or attempts at promoting "regime change" from outside the country would fail. "The intervention of the American army will not improve the situation...the experience of Iraq has demonstrated that," she said. Ebadi went on to say that Iranians would "not allow another Iraq to happen."

As a revolutionary personality and human rights worker, Ebadi has a distinguished record. In the years before the toppling of the Pahlavi Dynasty (1979), she was the first Iranian women to be named a judge (1975). After the advent of the Islamic Republic, first under the guidance of the "supreme jurisprudent" Grand Ayatullah Ruhollah Musawi al-Khumayni [right] and now under his successor, Ayatullah al-Uzma 'Ali Khamenei [left] and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ebadi has been a frequent critic of the government's policy of imprisoning its political and social critics.

In January 2005, Ebadi blasted the Iranian prison system and in April of that year, she criticized the decision of the Guardian Council, the body of senior revolutionary clerics that decides who is eligible to run for office, to disallow women from running for the office of the president.

For more details of Shirin Ebadi's record as a human rights activist, see:

Far from being a religious zealot, Ebadi is a human rights activist who also happens to be staunchly proud of her Iranian heritage. Like most Iranians, despite his dislike of the current regime, she is unwilling to accept foreign interference in Iranian internal affairs. She also rejects the idea that Iran should not have nuclear power and argues that reform in Iran can only happen from within the country itself.

To read Shirin Ebadi's autobiography on the Nobel website, see:

Despite rhetoric from some on the American Neo-Conservative right, "regime change" by force would not transform Iran, just as simply removing the Iraqi Ba'ath Party from power has not transformed neighboring Iraq into a fully operational democracy. Only the Iranians themselves are capable of deciding on the type of government that should represent them and once they decide it is time for a change in government, the revolutionary regime will have to adjust to new realities or face becoming obsolete.

The distaste of some Iranians for current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [right], whose critics include the former reformist president, Hojjetolislam Muhammad Khatami, will not automatically translate to support for a U.S. invasion or American or Israeli airstrikes against Iran's nuclear facilities.

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