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Terrorism & Security

Ahmadinejad warns against foreign interference in Iran's affairs

In a speech in Azerbaijan, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that foreign complaints about a woman sentenced to death for adultery and over Iran's nuclear program could jeopardize talks scheduled for next month.

By Taylor BarnesCorrespondent / November 18, 2010

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a news conference in Baku November 18. World powers should stop threatening Iran if they want to achieve results at talks on Tehran's nuclear program, Ahmadinejad said on Thursday.

Ilqar Ceferov/Reuters

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking in neighboring Azerbaijan on Thursday, criticized foreign attention on the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was sentenced to death for adultery, and said the West needed to lift pressure on the Islamic Republic if it wanted progress in talks about its nuclear program with six world powers tentatively scheduled for next month.

“The hearing on the case of Sakineh Ashtiani is still continuing, there is no problem in the investigation,” Ahmadinejad said in Baku, according to the Azerbaijan Press Agency (APA). When he was asked if the judgment against Ashtiani would be carried out, Ahmadinejad responded that 53 women were sentenced to death in the US.

“The judgment passed there is called legal, while such a judgment in Iran is regarded as the violation of human rights. These forces seek political benefit from human-related issues. Why doesn’t anyone speak about the executions there, while much is spoken about something that has not been realized in Iran?” he said.

Two German reporters who entered Iran to interview Ashtiani’s son have been arrested, and Iranian judiciary officials announced this week they are being held on espionage charges, Reuters reports. Iran suspended Ashtiani’s stoning sentence in September after widespread international criticism, the Christian Science Monitor reported, but the death penalty is not off the table.

She was sentenced to death by two courts in 2006, though one sentence, for complicity in her husband’s murder, was commuted to a 10-year jail sentence the next year, Agence France-Presse notes. The other sentence was to death by stoning for adultery.

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