Publishers are waiting on a ruling in a New York district court case involving an Iranian Nobel laureate and the US Treasury Department. Shirin Ebadi, who won last year's Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy of women's rights in her country, joined her literary agent in a suit against the Treasury Department when she found the publishing of her memoirs blocked under a US trade embargo against Iran. 'For many years now, I have wanted to write my memoir - a book that would help correct western stereotypes of Islam. Especially the image of Muslim women as docile, forlorn creatures,' the activist lawyer wrote in The New York Times last month. 'It is my impression, based on the conversations I have had during my travels in the United States and Europe, that such a book would be a welcome addition to the debate about Islam and the west,' she wrote. Authors from other affected countries, such as Cuba, as well as their American representatives, are also part of the suit, which was lodged in September. It has always been the law that the embargoes include intellectual property, but the rule had not been enforced since 1988 after an informal declaration by Congress. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe has raised the issue with the US government. 'The OSCE representative contacted the US State Department in October asking for additional information and voicing his concern with the way this legislation had been implemented,' said Alex Ivanko, a spokesman for the 55-nation grouping. 'We are still awaiting an answer from Treasury. In the letter we actually ask: why did the policy change in 2003?' Interest was generated in publishing Ms Ebadi's memoirs after the recent success of Iranian authors who have American citizenship, especially Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran. The Treasury Department has declined to comment in detail on the case, other than to declare that blocking the manuscript was within its rights and therefore was not censorious.