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2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Slams Clinton's "Obliteration" Remark: She is Exception to the Norm

05/13/2008 03:01 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"Occasionally we run across women who are worse warmongers than men," Ms. Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, told me in an interview. I had asked her opinion about Sen. Clinton's latest remark on the "obliteration" of Iran if it were to launch a nuke attack against Israel. Ms. Ebadi, who is one of the most outspoken human rights activists in the world today, continued:

Women usually stand at the forefront of peace activism, because they suffer the most during a war. They lose husbands and sons and are sometimes raped during a war. That's why most women seek peace. Of course there are always exceptions to the norm.

I hope Mrs. Clinton made those statements in search of the votes of extremists in her country, not as her personal belief. She has said that if Israel is threatened in any way, she will obliterate Iran.
It saddens me to see a woman abandon her position of peace and construction and think about war and destruction. I would say it is not possible to obliterate a country with a 3,000-year old history. Perhaps, as Mrs. Clinton suggests, military bombers can "obliterate" a few places in Iran, but you cannot obliterate 3,000 years of history.

My reply to people such as Mrs. Clinton, who use their fear of Israel's destruction as an excuse to attack Iran, is to remind them that Iran has been a refuge for Jewish people since the era of Cyrus The Great. Jews have lived peacefully in Iran for centuries. One of their oldest and most famous settlements is in Iran. Iran must be judged by its 3,000-year history, not by its performance over the past 30 years after the Islamic Revolution, or the past two years, since Ahmadinejad [came into office in 2005].

The Iranian government has never declared any plans to attack Israel. Certain current rhetoric has created excuses for an attack on Iran, the likes of which Mrs. Clinton suggests.