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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Interview With Winner of 2003 Nobel Peace Prize

Aired October 10, 2003 - 05:56   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: This just in. We've got some breaking news here at the CNN Center. As you might know by now, the winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded less than an hour ago, was quite a surprise. It was human rights activist Shirin Ebadi. She is an Iranian attorney and only the 11th woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in the 101 year history of the prize itself.
She joins us now by telephone from Paris.

Ms. Ebadi, congratulations.

I'm just wondering, were you surprised?

SHIRIN EBADI, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER: Thank you very much.

LIN: You're welcome.

When you heard the news about receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, were you surprised?

EBADI: Yes. Really, I'm shocked because I didn't imagine that I won this here.

LIN: You are certainly qualified and certainly quite modest. You have been fighting for women's rights, children's rights in Iran. You have been imprisoned for a time, gave up your position as the first female judge in Iran after the 1979 revolution.

But why do you think, of all the candidates, why do you think you won?

EBADI: You must ask this question from the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) they choose me. But I think I worked for children's rights in Iran. I have an NGO for supporting the children's rights in Iran, which is very active in children in the streets and the children in prison. And I work for women's rights in Iran and I teach in university women's rights. I've published a lot of books in many branches of human rights in Iran, like refugees' rights, children's rights and the modernity and extradition in Iranian (UNINTELLIGIBLE) system.

And I accepted many political cases in Iran's courts.

LIN: We understand that, that you have made a big difference in your country.

Shirin Ebadi, congratulations, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2003 joining us by telephone from Paris. Amongst her many accomplishments, she has fought for the rights of children and women and, in fact, Iranian women have already made several impressive accomplishments. Fourteen women, for example, in Iran's 270 seat parliament. They enjoy better representation than their sisters here in the U.S. Senate.

But still, many social reforms that Shirin Ebadi fighting for, raising the minimum age at which a young girl can be married off, currently at the age of nine. Also, rights for women who are looking to divorce their husbands and women accused in other matters in the legal system.

Shirin Ebadi, fighting for them.

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