ABC's Senior Foreign Correspondent Jim Sciutto reports:
In a calm but defiant interview with ABC News, Iranian human rights activist and 2003 Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi said the current Iranian regime has “no popular base”. “I promise you, this regime will not last,” she said. Pressed as to how a largely a popular protest movement can challenge a regime which seemingly has all the cards -- police, military, basij paramilitaries, Revolutionary Guards -- she said the movement is becoming more widespread despite the crackdown, spreading from Tehran to other cities. She said political backing from prominent religious leaders adds strength, and that while political leaders such as Mirhossein Mousavi have been largely quiet, “the real leaders are the people.”
Asked about the international community’s renewed push for economic sanctions against the regime, Ebadi said sanctions will “harm the people and will not bring about the collapse of the regime”, explaining that the regime will use sanctions as a pretext crack down further. (She also opposes a military attack for the same reasons.) Her preferred remedy: that the US and the West express “verbal support only” for the opposition and seek to stop weapons sales to the government.
On a more personal note, she said Iranian authorities did in fact confiscate her 2003 Nobel, despite the govt’s denials. She said the Revolutionary Court, which handles all cases involved security, confiscated her and her husband’s safety deposit box, where the prize was stored. She said they also froze the couple’s bank accounts and pensions. and the govt is now trying to get her to pay taxes on her Nobel prize award money, even though she says such awards are not taxable in Iran.
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