You are hereHuffington Post: Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi: Sanctions Okay, Nuke Program Is 'Propaganda'

Huffington Post: Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi: Sanctions Okay, Nuke Program Is 'Propaganda'

April 21, 2011- WASHINGTON -- Iran’s leading human rights activist and its only Nobel Peace Prize winner softened her stance against economic sanctions aimed at the Islamist state -- even as she abandoned her defense of its nuclear program.

Shirin Ebadi, a prominent Iranian lawyer now exiled in Atlanta, had been an outspoken critic of the international sanctions. She said they had hurt the Iranian people and were a poor substitute for pressure on the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to restore democracy and freedom.

But at an event Thursday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the first Muslim woman Nobel Laureate appeared to give the green light to economic sanctions. She described them as something more benign: international trade law.

”Countries have the right to come up with laws regarding trade in their own country,” Ebadi said through a translator. She compared U.S. limits on trade with Iran to French laws regulating the importation of cheese.

“What has America done? America has limited the work of corporations within its borders,” she said, noting that companies have a choice on whether to operate in the United States or Iran. “Legally, this is not a sanction. This is regulating trade in America. We may not like it, but it’s not sanctions.”

Ebadi declined to give President Obama advice on dealing with Iran. But she signaled approval for Obama by way of a veiled comparison to President George W. Bush, who once authorized military action against Tehran.

“The only thing that I can say is, don’t threaten Iran,” she said. “Iranians don’t like being threatened and fortunately [Obama] has not committed that mistake.”