IRANIANS DEFEND FREEZING OF ASSETS OF NOBEL LAUREATE.

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1IRANIANS DEFEND FREEZING OF ASSETS OF NOBEL LAUREATE .
2Iran denounced charges by the Norwegian government that it had illegally confiscated a Nobel Peace Prize winner 's medal and frozen her bank account , the IRNA news agency reported Friday .
3Iran called the assertion an interference in its internal affairs and said the Nobel winner , Shirin Ebadi , owed taxes to the government .
4`` We are surprised that Norwegian officials can make such hasty and biased comments and disregard the laws and regulations of other countries , '' a Foreign Ministry spokesman , Ramin Mehmanparast , was quoted as saying .
5Mehmanparast denied that Ebadi 's medal , which she won in 2003 , had been confiscated , but his comments indicated that her assets had been frozen .
6`` We do not understand how Norwegian officials are trying to justify people 's negligence to pay tax , '' he said .
7Norway 's Foreign Ministry summoned Iran 's charge d'affaires to protest the confiscation .
8Norway 's government administers the prize .
9Iran has demanded about $ 400,000 in taxes on Ebadi 's prize money , which amounted to $ 1.3 million .
10Ebadi , a human rights lawyer , has said that under Iranian law , there are no taxes on such prizes .
11The measure appears to be an effort to put pressure on Ebadi , 62 , an outspoken critic of the government .
12She left Iran shortly before the disputed June 12 election won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad .