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Iran: World Praises Ebadi Award, Tehran Remains Silent

Tehran, 10 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Organizations, individuals, and nations praised the award today of the Nobel Peace Prize to Iranian human rights advocate Shirin Ebadi (pictured), while Iran has yet to comment officially on the award. Ali Abtahi, vice president in Iran's reformist government, said the fact that a lawyer has won the prize raises hope that the Iranian judicial system will change its methods.

The official government spokesman, Abdullah Ramazanzadeh, issued and then retracted a statement saying that the government was "happy" at the choice. Agence France Presse reported that Ramazanzadeh called the agency back to say he had expressed only his own opinion.

Iranian state media reported the award without comment.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, 2002 laureate, said he was delighted.

French President Jacques Chirac, EU security and foreign policy commissioner Javier Solana, and the human rights group Amnesty International, the 1977 winner, also praised the choice.