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US Applauds Nobel Committee's Decision to Award Peace Prize to Ebadi

The United States Friday applauded the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate Shirin Ebadi. The State Department expressed hope the action by the Norwegian Nobel committee in Oslo will speed a democratic transformation in Iran.

The Bush administration has made clear its support for Iranian reformists, including students and others who took their protests against the Islamic authorities into the streets of Tehran late last year. And State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the United States applauds the Nobel committee's decision to award the Peace Prize to Ms. Ebadi, and hopes her efforts can help transform Iranian society.

"We fully support the aspirations of the Iranian people to live in freedom, and hope the call for democracy will be heard, and transform Iran into a force for stability in the region," he said.

Mr. Boucher said Ms. Ebadi, the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to win the Peace Prize in its 102-year history, has worked "tirelessly" on behalf of all Iranians, with a focus on the human rights of women and children.