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Iran Tells World Don't Make Stoning A Rights Issue

A widely circulated photo that Iranian opposition groups claim is from an Iranian stoning.
Iran has warned foreign countries against interference in its legal system and told them to stop trying to turn the case of a woman sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery into a human rights issue.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said today that the furor was based on false information about Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's case.

Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two was condemned to death for illicit sex and charged with involvement in her husband's murder.

Her case has provoked an international outcry.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told the European Parliament in Strasbourg today he was outraged by the sentence.

"I am appalled when I hear that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is sentenced to death by stoning," Barroso said. "This is barbaric beyond words," he added to sustained applause. "In Europe, we condemn such acts, which have no justification under any moral or religious code."

Iranian news reports have suggested the stoning sentence might be lifted, but that Ashtiani could still be hanged.

* CORRECTION: The photo caption has been amended to point out that the photograph above is purported to be an Iranian stoning according to Iran opposition claims, thanks to a heads-up from a sharp-eyed reader.

compiled from agency reports