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Iranian Nobel Laureate urges U.S. focus on human rights

BOULDER-- Iranian attorney and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi urged the United States to center its policy toward Iran on human rights in a speech Friday that kicked-off a two day symposium here at Naropa University Friday night. A fearless defender of women's rights in Iran and a harsh critic of the patriarchal readings of Islam dominant in the Middle East, Ebadi took issue with the "clash of civilization" posture that has characterized West-Middle East relations over the past 30 years. She highlighted the value of greater cultural exchange and spoke on Iran's pursuit of nuclear power. She also congratulated President Obama on joining the world's club of Nobel winners. She saw the surprise award as encouragement for the U.S. to further pursue peace and dialogue as part of the international community.