Iran Defends Its Freezing of Nobel Laureate’s Assets
New York Times / Nazila Fathi
27-Nov-2009 (one comment)

TORONTO — Iran denounced Friday charges by Norwegian government that it had illegally confiscated the a Nobel Peace Prize winner’s medal and frozen her bank account, the IRNA news agency reported. Iran called the action an interference into its internal affairs and said the winner, owed money to the government in taxes.

“We are surprised that Norwegian officials can make such hasty and biased comments and disregard the laws and regulations of other countries,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, was
quoted as saying, adding that Ms. Ebadi, a human rights lawyer, had refused to pay taxes on her prize.

Mr. Mehmanparast denied that Ms. Ebadi’s medal, which she won in 2003, had been confiscated, but his
comments indicated that her assets had been frozen.

“We do not understand how Norwegian officials are trying to justify people’s negligence to pay tax,” he said.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Iran had confiscated Ms. Ebadi’s Nobel medal and diploma from a bank box and confiscated her account. It summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires to protest the confiscation and expressed “grave concern” about the treatment of Ms. Ebadi’s husband, Javad Tavassolian, who it said had been arrested and severely beaten in Tehran.

Iran has demanded about $400,000 in taxes on Ms. Ebadi’s prize money, which amounted to $1.3 million. Ms. Ebadi has said that under Iranian law, there ar... >>>

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