Norwegian charges against Nobel laureate's asset freezing biased: Iran

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Tehran, Nov. 28 (ANI): Iran has refuted Norwegian claims that it had unlawfully confiscated Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi's medal and frozen her bank account.

Terming the Norwegian government's protest as interference in its internal affairs, Tehran claimed that the Nobel laureate owed taxes to the government.

"We are surprised that Norwegian officials can make such hasty and biased comments and disregard the laws and regulations of other countries," The New York Times quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, as saying.

Mehmanparast denied that Ebadi's medal, which she won in 2003, had been confiscated, but 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 added.

Norway's government, which administers the prize, summoned Iran's chargé d'affaires to protest the confiscation.

Iran has demanded about 400,000 dollars in taxes on Ebadi's prize money, which amounted to 1.3 million dollars.

Ebadi, a human rights lawyer, has said that under Iranian law, there are no taxes on such prizes.

The measure appears to be an effort to put pressure on Ebadi, 62, who left Iran shortly before the disputed June 12 election won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (ANI)

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