Ebadi calls on EU to freeze Iranian leaders' assets

9th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi called Wednesday on the EU to freeze the assets of 80 Iranians "responsible for policies of repression" in the country and to block them from entering Europe.

The European Union "should not grant them entry visas and should freeze their assets ... accumulated by corruption," she told journalists, noting that the assets are hidden in Europe.

Ebadi has supported a move by the International Federation for Human Rights to send a letter to the EU calling for restrictions on a "list of 80 people who are responsible for policies of repression in Iran," said Karim Lahidji, the federation's vice president.

The letter, addressed to European Union diplomatic chief Catherine Ashton and other EU representatives, asked that the individuals "be prevented from travelling in Europe and for their assets to be confiscated," he added.

On the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council's meeting, Ebadi said that she hoped the Europeans would "put the words into practice."

Decrying the repression in Iran, Ebadi likened the unhappiness of Iranians to "fire under ashes."

"With a light breeze, there could be a huge fire," she said.

"When it's going to happen, it's difficult to predict. But I can say certainly that it's not going to be too long ... because of the current economic situation in Iran," she added.

Ebadi said however that she hoped any change would unfold in a peaceful manner, contrary to the situation in Libya.

"We do not want Iran turning into another Libya," she said.

Ebadi is therefore also supporting a Western-led move for a UN Human Rights Council resolution to appoint a special rapporteur to monitor the situation in the country.

The resolution is expected to be presented to the 47-member council before March 25, the end of its current sitting.

Ebadi is living in Britain and has not returned to Iran since leaving the country before the controversial June 2009 presidential elections, which saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reelectd for a second term.

© 2011 AFP

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