Sunday, August 1, 2010

Iran stoning woman offered asylum by Brazil's president Lula

August 1, 2010

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has stepped into the international outcry over Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, by offering his country as a refuge, a move which raised hopes her life will be spared.

The surprise offer prompted an immediate reaction from Iran, which considers Brazil a key ally. Iranian officials softened their tone with Ashtiani's family over the weekend and official media reported full details of the story for the first time.

"I don't think Iran can ignore Brazil as easily as it ignored other countries," Ashtiani's son, Sajad, told the Guardian today. "It is very important that Brazil, as one of Iran's most significant allies in the world, has offered a haven for my mother."

He hoped Turkey, which also carries influence with Tehran, would add its voice. "No countries in the world can have such impacts that Brazil and Turkey can have on Iran now. These two countries can save my mother's life," said Sajad.