Syria can spur Iran democracy: Nobel laureate

WASHINGTON — Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi voiced hope Saturday over mass protests in Syria, saying that the fall of Tehran’s main Arab ally would send a powerful signal to the Islamic regime.

“Democracy in Islamic and Arab countries, specifically Syria, will certainly affect democracy in Iran,” Ebadi told AFP on a visit to Washington. “If Syria becomes democratic, Iran will lose its puppet.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces were said to have killed more than 80 people Friday and to have shot dead mourners on Saturday in a bid to crush the latest uprising against authoritarian leaders in the Middle East.

Ebadi, a jurist and rights advocate who in 2003 became the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, faulted Iran’s leaders for their focus on supporting Syria and other causes overseas.

“Muslims should help each other no matter where they are, but let’s not forget that in Iran some 20 percent of people live under the poverty line,” she said. “Shouldn’t the hungry people of Iran be fed first?”

“Although Senegal is an Islamic country, Iran sends arms to Senegal in order to help the opposition and create a civil war, meaning Muslims killing Muslims,” she said. “What does Senegal matter to Iran?”

A long-simmering insurgency in Senegal’s southwestern Casamance province has flared up this year due to what the Dakar government said was an Ir… >>>

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