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Middle East

Iran warns West not to interfere with stoning case

media A member of the International Committee against stoning Sakineh Mohammadi … Carl Court / AFP

Iran told Western nations Tuesday to stay out of the case of a woman facing death by stoning. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson warned that Iran would not tolerate any interference in the matter, and dismissed the Brazilian president's offer of asylum to the woman.

"Independent nations do not allow other countries to interfere in their judicial affairs," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference. "Western nations must not pressurise and hype [the case] up."

Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year old mother of three was convicted of adultery, and sentenced to death by stoning, which has provoked condemnation in the West.

"France and its European partners are currently studying all means that can be put into action to ensure the sentence against Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani is not carried out," the French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Christine Fages told reporters on Monday.

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy organised a petition and an open letter was published in the French daily Liberation, urging world leaders to come to the woman's defence.

The stoning sentence was temporarily suspended in July by Iran's judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani, after the case attracted so much international attention.

Iran has rejected Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva offer of asylum to Mohammadi-Ashtiani.

When asked about the offer on Tuesday, Mehmanparast said Brazil would come to "understand it is a fuss created to undermine relations" between the two countries.

"I think there is no need to create some trouble for President Lula and to send her to Brazil," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in comments posted on Iran's English-language Press TV’s website. "We are keen to export our technology to Brazil rather than such people."

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