On October 10, 2003, Iranian human-rights activist Shirin 'Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The following are excerpts from an interview with Shirin 'Ebadi which was published in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat as well as reactions to 'Ebadi's award as they appeared in the Iranian media:
'Ebadi: Khatami Wasted Every Chance
'Ebadi granted an interview to Iranian journalist Amir Taheri which was published in the October 19, 2003 edition of the London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. The following are excerpts from the interview: 
There Can Be Reform In Iran Without Violence Question: "
There were some who thought that you would prefer to remain in Europe."
'Ebadi: " The possibility of not returning [to Iran] was never on the agenda. Without the connection to Iran, my life has no meaning. I was not ready for what happened. I didn't even know that I was a candidate. As I said, from the beginning I saw the prize as a message from the international community, first of all, to the Iranian people, primarily to women, and then to the [entire] Islamic world. The content of the message is that human rights are the property of all human beings, and peace is possible only when these rights are respected."
Question: "Does the fact that you have won the Nobel Prize give additional momentum to the democratic movement [in Iran] whose activity seems to have lessened in recent weeks?"
'Ebadi: "This is my hope. The content of the message is that the struggle for human rights in Iran is not a private matter, and it reinforces civil society without which democracy cannot be achieved. Change takes place in society when the behavior of many within it changes. This is what is happening in our country."
Question: "Can the current regime be reformed without violence?"
'Ebadi: "Yes. I maintain that nothing useful and lasting can emerge from violence. Similarly, I think that we can act in the framework of the law, and aspire towards the required changes by means of constitutional measures. I have in no way ever done anything in violation of the law, because I support peaceful [change]. The number of people who want reform is constantly growing."
'In Iran Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan There is an Internal Mechanism for Change' Question: "Some say that your winning is a political move on the part of Europe, which seeks to prove that political change can take place by means of 'flexible force' instead of the 'violent force' that the U.S. has used in Iraq and Afghanistan."
'Ebadi: "I disagree with this analysis. The situation in Iran is different than that in Iraq and Afghanistan. There was no mechanism for internal change in Iraq and Afghanistan; in contrast, it does exist in Iran. Europe realized that in order to stop the wars, human rights must be honored across the world. This is a principle, and a practical position."
Question: "You supported the election of Mohammad Khatami to the presidency. Do you still see him as a leader of the reform movement?"
'Ebadi: "I was one of millions who voted for Khatami, because if they did not do so the conservatives would have won the election. We had no alternative. Nevertheless, unfortunately, we must acknowledge that President Khatami has wasted all the historical chances given him, and the democratic and reform movements have bypassed him."
Question: "President Khatami said that your winning is not worthy of 'all the fuss.' What do you say to this?"
'Ebadi: " I respect the opinion of the president. People are free to have their own opinion about everything."
Question: "Some say that in time, you will become nothing more than a memory, like the Burmese leader Aung Suu Kyi, who also won the Nobel Peace Prize."
'Ebadi: "Burma is not my territory, but I know a great deal about Iran. Our matter is greater than me personally, or than any other person. We have a deeply rooted and developing movement for democracy and human rights, and it is supported in all sectors of society."
Thanks for posting the interview and sharing it with us.