Page last updated at 10:15 GMT, Tuesday, 2 November 2004

Iranian Nobel winner sues the US

Shirin Ebadi, Iranian Nobel winner
Ebadi: The first Iranian and first Muslim woman to win the Nobel peace prize

Iranian Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi is suing the US government for blocking publication of her memoirs.

She argues in her suit that restrictions on the publication of books by authors in countries subject to US sanctions are unconstitutional.

American companies are banned from publishing books by authors in Iran, Cuba and Sudan.

Ms Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year - the first Iranian and first Muslim woman to win the award.

Missed opportunity

Ms Ebadi and the Strothman Agency, a literary agent that wants to represent her, filed the suit in New York last week.

On Monday, a federal judge agreed to add the lawsuit to comparable suits brought by other publishers and authors. No hearing date has been set.

According to US Treasury Department regulations, American companies are not allowed to publish works by authors in Iran, Cuba and Sudan unless the works have already been completed without any American involvement.

American publishers are also forbidden from promoting or marketing works from the three countries unless they obtain a licence from the Treasury Department.

Ms Ebadi said in her suit that blocking the publication of her memoirs in the US would be a "critical missed opportunity both for Americans to learn more about my country and its people from a variety of Iranian voices and for a better understanding to be achieved between our two countries".

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