Iranian Nobel peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi called Monday for intensified international pressure to help her country democratize and denounced the crackdown on opposition protesters.
"I oppose military and economic sanctions against Iran as they will aggravate the situation," Ebadi was quoted as saying in an interview with South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
"However, intensified international public opinion will contribute to Iran's democratization."
Ebadi, a lawyer and human rights defender who won the Nobel prize in 2003, arrived in Seoul Saturday for a six-day trip to receive this year's Manhae Peace Prize named after a 20th century Korean Buddhist reformer.
She said she would step up her campaign to remove censorship in Iran.
"I want to let all the people know what's going on in Iran and make it a free country," she said.
Ebadi denounced Iran for jailing citizens who protested at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in a June 12 poll that sparked weeks of unrest.
"I don’t take a political stance but I oppose the government’s violent oppression," she told Dong-A Ilbo in a separate interview. "Violence must be eradicated and all those who were arrested after the election must be freed."
At least 20 people have died in clashes with security forces and hundreds of opposition protesters have been detained. Iran has also jailed dozens of journalists, political activists and reformist leaders.
Ebadi said the government had misinterpreted the spirit of Islam to discriminate against women.
She told Dong-A that Islam can "develop into a direction in which the religion stays in harmony with human rights. The problem is that undemocratic governments abuse the term "Islam" for an oppressive policy that defies human rights."