Iranian judiciary chief temporarily halts execution by stoning of woman

Iran's judiciary chief has temporarily halted the execution by stoning of a woman accused of adultery, the state news agency IRNA reported.

TEHRAN // Iran's judiciary chief has temporarily halted the execution by stoning of a woman accused of adultery, the state news agency IRNA reported yesterday, quoting a judiciary official. "Although the verdict is definitive and applicable, the verdict has been halted due to humanitarian reservations and upon the order of the honourable judiciary chief and it will not be carried out for the moment," Malek Ajdar Sharifi, head of the judiciary in East Azerbaijan province, told IRNA. The woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, and a mother of two, had been sentenced to death by stoning after she was found guilty of adultery, a ruling that has caused an outcry in western countries. But Mr Sharifi said the move was temporary and her death sentence could be carried out as decided by the judiciary chief, Sadeq Larijani. "Whenever the judiciary chief deems it expedient, the verdict will be carried out regardless of western media propaganda," Mr Sharifi said. ? Agence France-Presse

TEHRAN // Mehdi Karrubi, an opposition leader, has accused Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard of backing sanctions against Tehran as they make "astronomical profits" from the punitive measures, a website said yesterday. "I believe that part of the Iranian rule as well as the Revolutionary Guard are in favour of sanctions as they make gigantic and astronomical profits from them," Mr Karrubi was quoted as saying on the opposition website The Revolutionary Guard regularly shrug off international sanctions imposed on Iran for its nuclear programme, with some top commanders expressing willingness to take on projects abandoned by western companies, including in the energy sector. Mr Karrubi, who opposes the government of the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, again blamed the hardline leader for the latest sets of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, the European Union and the United States. ? Agence France-Presse

TEHRAN // A top Iranian politician has condemned the United States for the abduction of an Iranian academic, who was alleged to have been kidnapped by the US last year while on pilgrimage to Mecca. Iran says it has found new documents related to the abduction of Shahram Amiri by the US Central Intelligence Agency. The documents have been handed over to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, who hosts the US interests section. "The US move to kidnap Amiri runs counter to international regulations," Fars News Agency quoted a member of parliament's national security and foreign policy commission, Javad Jahangirzadeh, as saying. The politician reiterated that the US government kidnapped Amiri so that the Iranian academic would disclose data that they could later claim as invaluable information about Iran's nuclear programme. Mr Jahangirzadeh called on responsible bodies to follow up the case.

? Press TV