Tehran: Iran on Saturday said that it has yet to take a final decision on the stoning of a woman convicted of adultery and complicity in her husband`s murder in a case that
has sparked an international outcry.
As human rights groups prepared to demonstrate in Paris and France called on the European Union to threaten new sanctions, the foreign ministry said that execution of the
sentence has been stayed pending a review by the judiciary.
"In this case, implementation of the sentence has been stayed and is under review by the judiciary," ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news agency.
Iranian officials say that Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, was sentenced to death by stoning after an Iranian court found her guilty of adultery and of being an accomplice in her husband`s murder.
Mehmanparast stressed that such severe sentences were never carried out without exhaustive judicial consideration.
"For heavy sentences, we have meticulous and lengthy procedures," he said.
"This verdict is currently being reviewed and when the judiciary arrives at a final conclusion, it will be announced."
Mehmanparast said that Mohammadi-Ashtiani faced two separate sets of charges.
"One concerns her betrayal of her husband and having illicit relations with strangers. On this count, implementation of sentence has been stayed and is under review by the judiciary," he said.
"On the second count, she is accused of being an accomplice in the murder of her husband. That case is in its final proceedings.
"These crimes (adultery and murder) have been proved, but there is no definitive judgement."
In Iran adultery is punishable by death by stoning.
Yesterday, France stepped up the diplomatic pressure on Iran over the case by urging the European Union to adopt new sanctions if Mohammadi-Ashtiani is stoned to death.
Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner wrote to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton calling for a joint warning to Iran by all 27 member states not to carry out the sentence.