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U.S. Cites 'Grave Concern' Over Iranian Activist's Summons

Shirin Ebadi 14 January 2005 -- The U.S. State Department has expressed "grave concern" about the human rights situation in Iran and possible court action there against Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

Ebadi yesterday said she had been ordered to appear before Iran's hard-line judiciary to answer unspecified questions within three days or face arrest.

A State Department statement said the U.S. was monitoring the case closely.

The statement said the Iranian regime's "continued harassment and arrest of proponents of moderation, pluralism, and political reform" was in violation of "international standards of human rights."

It cited the Ebadi incident and also the authorities' closure of pro-reform newspapers.

The statement noted Ebadi was both the first Iranian and first Muslim woman to win the Nobel peace prize and said the U.S. would raise what it called Iran's worsening human rights situation with friends and allies in the region.