Censoring Ebadi

A report on the PRI/BBC radio show The World yesterday stated that the US Treasury Department will not allow Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, to publish a book of memoirs in the United States because it violates the laws about doing business with Iran. (The audio of the report can be found here.) It’s my understanding that the laws are designed to keep outlaw regimes from gaining financially from exports. But in this case the indiscriminate application of the law means that Ebadi cannot publish her work in America unless she first finds a publisher in Iran, which is self-evidently absurd. Furthermore, Americans are forbidden to offer editorial advice to writers in Iran, as well as Cuba and Sudan. You can read a few excerpts from Ebadi’s other works at Bad Jens, an Iranian Feminist Journal, here. Back in February, the scholar and political commentator Juan Cole was outraged that the Treasury Department was attempting to stop Americans from editing and translating newspapers from Iran, even though no money was involved. Cole’s distressing plea can be read here. Keeping critical information about Iran from Americans at this moment in history – particularly from dissidents and those fighting for freedom – is craven and disgusting, another example of Draconian Creep. Cole’s essay includes an email address to protest, if you are so inclined.