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Iran Warns Against Campaign To Free Germans

Iran's Foreign Ministry has warned that a campaign to free two German journalists detained in the case of a woman sentenced to death by stoning may backfire.

Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Germany should avoid "politicizing" the issue.

The two Germans were arrested nearly three months ago for interviewing the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast urged Germany to stop pressuring Iran's authorities.

"There is an attempt in Germany to step up campaigning and push forward a statement with names of various individuals to put pressure on our judiciary system," Mehmanparast said.

Iran says the reporters entered the country on tourist visas and failed to obtain the necessary accreditation before "posing as journalists."

One hundred prominent Germans, including business leaders, ministers, and top sports stars in a public appeal urged Iran to free them.

Ashtiani, in a meeting with journalists during temporary release by Iranian authorities, complained of the treatment of her case by the Germans and the international media.

"I want to complain about the German reporters who made this case even more complicated and worsened my situation," Ashtiani told the journalists. "Why did they come posing as journalists?"

compiled from agency reports