Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi: Sanctions Okay, Nuke Program Is ‘Propaganda’

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  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.

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