The first Iranian to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi is a human rights activist, lawyer, and former judge. Listed by Forbes magazine as one of the “100 most powerful women in the world” for 2004, she is currently in exile from her native country.
On Sunday, she sat down with Kurdistan 24 to discuss the latest developments in Iran, which this, the first of a two-part article, will cover. Look for the second part, in which she will share her thoughts on the regime’s recent attack on the headquarters of two Iranian Kurdish opposition parties inside the Kurdistan Region.
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Shirin Ebadi, in an exclusive interview with Kurdistan 24, said that Tehran’s response to protesters expressing their “discontent” with the downward trend of living conditions and satisfaction with the government, only serves to worsen the situation and shows that Iran fears a “free election.”
“The rial has lost most of its value and this has caused an increase in poverty. Many goods like baby diapers and some types of medicine are hard to acquire,” Ebadi said, referring to the current economic crisis in which Iran finds itself.
Pointing to the state of affairs and the collapsing currency, she stated that “public discontent with the government” is at its highest level and warned that Tehran will not be able to continue on its current path indefinitely.
“One day, these conditions have to change.”
However, “the Iranian government, at times of public demonstrations on the streets, instead of listening to the words of the people, responds with violence; arresting them, suppressing them, and even killing a number of them.”
Ebadi believes such behavior “makes conditions worse.” Even if “people go home to avoid getting arrested or killed, this does not pacify them. In fact, after a while, protests continue elsewhere.”
“No!” she responded firmly when asked whether it was in the public interest for the regime to remain in power.
Regarding efforts to support a peaceful transition to democracy, Ebadi pointed to a project she has advocated for with her colleagues, who “called on Iran to agree to a referendum, supervised by the United Nations, for people to decide whether they want the current government before it collapses.”
“They did not accept,” she said.
Read the full interview here on Kurdistan 24 website
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