Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi has called on Iran to suspend its controversial nuclear work to avert what she says is a mounting threat of war with the US.
Ms Ebadi warns of the "evil sounds of war drums" in the distance
"Using nuclear energy is every nation's right, but we have obvious other rights including security, peace and welfare," she told a press conference.
Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Ms Ebadi won the Nobel peace prize in 2003.
Criticism of Iran's nuclear policy is rare in the Islamic Republic.
Correspondents say Ms Ebadi's comments represent an unusually explicit condemnation of the government's entrenched policy at a time of mounting tension with western powers.
"We can hear the evil sounds of war drums, however far away. We don't like it but there is probability of war," she said.
"In the past 30 years there has been a revolution and eight years of war. People are tired and want peace and quiet to lead their lives."
Iran has rejected repeated international demands to stop enriching uranium, which its foes say is a means towards obtaining a nuclear weapons capability.
Neither the United States nor Israel have ruled out the use of military action to prevent the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Tehran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful, energy-producing purposes alone.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called Iranian critics of uranium enrichment "traitors".
The UN Security Council has imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear activities.
"Iran should respect UN Security Council resolutions and it means suspending uranium enrichment and resolving the dispute through talks," Ms Ebadi said.