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. Nobel laureate urges Iran to heed UN nuclear demands
TEHRAN, June 25 (AFP) Jun 25, 2007
Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi urged the country's clerical regime Monday to respect UN demands to suspend uranium enrichment.

In her first public comments on the issue, Ebadi said the adoption of two UN resolutions calling on Tehran to freeze enrichment sent a clear message from the international community.

"In these sensitive times the adoption of two resolutions show the international community cannot tolerate the Iranian government's current behaviour," Ebadi said in a peace conference held at her Human Rights Centre.

"I believe the Iranian government should respect the international consensus and not do anything to make people's lives harder with more economic sanctions."

The UN Security Council has imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran for its continued refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, and world powers are likely to adopt a third resolution with tougher punitive measures.

"While using peaceful nuclear energy is every nation's right, we insist that exercising this right should not happen in a way that deprives us of a greater right, which is living in peace," Ebadi said.

"One right should not be sacrificed for other rights. It is only in peace that we can make progress," said the 2001 Nobel peace prize winner.

It is the first time that Ebadi, an outspoken critic of Iran's human rights record, has taken a public position against the country's nuclear drive.

Enrichment lies at the centre of an international dispute over the nature of Iran's nuclear programme, as the process can make nuclear fuel as well as the fissile core of an atom bomb in highly purified form.

Oil-rich Iran insists it has a right to make nuclear fuel as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, denying allegations that its programme is being secretly diverted to making weapons.

But the UN nuclear watchdog tasked with monitoring compliance with the treaty, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has reported that the country is failing to fully cooperate with inspectors.

Britain and the United States are pushing for a third round of tougher sanctions against Iran including travel bans, the freezing of bank accounts and inspections of Iranian cargo ships and aircraft.

The United States has never ruled out a military option to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

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