Most people in the Muslim Middle East are anti-American but their rulers are vassals of Washington, while the reverse is true in Iran. But George W. Bush risks turning Iranians against the United States with his aggressive approach to the Iranian nuclear program, says Nobel Laureate Iranian author Shirin Ebadi, reports the Toronto Star. She said: “The United States has supported non-democratic governments in the region. The people there who want freedom are, therefore, upset at the U.S. But the U.S. has had no relations with Iran since the 1979 revolution, so it has not had the opportunity to support the government. Iranians have been increasingly disappointed with their government, but they’ve had no reason to be dissatisfied with the U.S. I hope the U.S. will not make the mistake of attacking Iran militarily. If it did, it will no longer benefit from the pro-American sentiment in Iran. The situation will reverse. The people will not support the U.S. but will defend their land.” Ebadi said the only solution to the Iran-U.S. nuclear impasse is, (a) direct U.S.-Iran negotiations, and (b) the development of democracy in Iran. “In fact, the American foreign policy in the Middle East has been a series of mistakes.” These have included Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Ebadi has called the latter an “unfair conflict -stones on one side and an army on the other.” But in Iran, she opposed the 2000 trial of 13 Iranian Jews, saying “they are Iranian citizens, just like I am,” and that persecution of non-Muslims is un-Islamic. Iran has slid back into increased censorship and crackdown on dissidents, as shown by the recent arrest of author Ramin Jahanbegloo, a former Canadian professor. “He has had no access to lawyers and his case has not even been presented for trial to court,” Ebadi said. “He has committed no crime. The only thing he has done is to write.” About the case of Zahra Kazemi, the Montreal photojournalist killed in a Tehran jail, Ebadi said: “Justice is yet to be served. The court refuses to listen to our defence. It said the murderer remains unidentified. We are in the last stage of objection to the court finding. That is the last legal resort we have. “But even if the case is closed by the Iranian legal system, it will not be closed in the eyes of Iranian public opinion. The Iranian people will always remember that a journalist, a woman, was killed innocently as a result of torture in an Iranian prison.” When asked her about the irony that clerics have turned Iranians against Islam and are presiding over increased prostitution and drug use, she said that poverty and widespread disenchantment have led to social decay.