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Iran's Conservatives Have Their Nobel Winner


Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi wants to give Turkey PM a Nobel Prize.

Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi wants to give Turkey PM a Nobel Prize.

Iran's conservatives have a new hero: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, following his spat with Israeli President Shimon Peres over the Gaza crisis last week, walked out of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Iran's president, ministers, the parliament speaker and other deputies, and clerics in the holy city of Qom are all full of praise for the Turkish PM. And, of course, Basiji students demonstrated with flowers in front of the Turkish Embassy and chanted slogans such as "Erdogan, Erdogan, we support you."

Iran, the main backer of the Palestinians' Hamas group, which controls the Gaza Strip, does not recognize Israel.

"Courageous," "valuable," "a model for the head of all Muslim countries," and "epic" are among the words that Iranian officials have used to describe Erdogan's angry outburst.

Some of the most spectacular praise came from Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, who said that Erdogan deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. Shirazi said Erdogan's action paved the way for the prevention of another war.

This reaction is interesting, because in the past some Iranian hard-liners have dismissed the Nobel Peace Prize as Western and worthless. And Iran's only Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, has been under increasing state pressure.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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