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Sunday, November 29, 2009
Iran denies Norway’s allegation about Ebadi’s Nobel Prize
Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN -- Iran has denied Norway’s allegation that the Islamic Republic has confiscated the Nobel Peace Prize of Shirin Ebadi.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a statement on Thursday, “The medal and the diploma have been removed from Dr. Ebadi’s bank box, together with other personal items. Such an act leaves us feeling shock and disbelief,” CNN reported.
It is surprising that Norwegian officials jump to conclusions without respecting international protocols and taking enough time to consider both sides of the issue, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Friday.
Mehmanparast said the issue involved tax evasion, and as in all countries, tax evasion is a crime in Iran and individuals face legal penalties should they commit such an act.
Norway has no right to criticize Iran for enforcing its tax laws, he noted, saying Norwegian officials are trying to justify tax evasion.
The Foreign Ministry also summoned Norway’s ambassador later on Friday to protest against the Norwegian foreign minister’s meddling in support of Ebadi’s decision to evade paying taxes, which she tried to justify with some illogical reasons.
Ebadi claimed on Thursday that about three weeks ago the authorities took her Nobel Peace Prize medal from a safe-deposit box in Iran, saying she owed taxes on the $1.3 million she was awarded.
Tehran also accused Norway of adopting double standards toward the issue of human rights, pointing to the country’s lukewarm stance toward the United Nations report on the Gaza war, in which hundreds of Palestinian civilians were massacred, and its indifference to the October 18 terrorist attack in the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan