Tuesday, 13 January 2009 


Iran executes two men by stoning


Two men convicted of adultery have been stoned to death in Iran, a rare punishment that the Iranian judiciary says it is trying to have scrapped.

The stoning took place in Mashhad in December, said judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi confirming press reports.

In stonings, men are buried to the waist and stones are hurled until they die. Women are buried to the shoulders. The stones used must be large enough to cause the condemned pain, but not sufficient to kill immediately.

 A third man, an Afghan national, managed to dig himself out of the hole, and therefore escaped execution.

International and local human rights groups have long campaigned for a ban on stoning in Iran as a “grotesque” punishment which is designed increase the suffering of the condemned.          

Iran has some of the highest execution rates in the world

5 August 2008 17:26 UK


Iranians suspend death by stoning

 A judiciary spokesman said four people sentenced to die by stoning had had their sentences commuted and that all other cases had been put under review. At least eight women and one man are reported to have been sentenced to death by stoning in Iran.

Lawyers and human rights campaigners have said at least eight women and a man are awaiting the punishment.

Amnesty also said a disproportionate number of those sentenced to death by stoning were women because they were not treated equally before the law and were particularly vulnerable to unfair trials.

Alireza Jamshidi Judiciary spokesman

The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Tehran says this is because the authorities have been reluctant to completely abolish a penalty they say is endorsed by Islamic law.

Although stoning is not prescribed in the Koran, some Muslim scholars say it is in the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad.

Nevertheless, an Iranian judiciary spokesman said the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had commuted the sentences of two people to 10 years in jail. Two others would receive lashes, he said.

 Human rights campaigners recently warned that eight women aged between 27 and 43 were sentenced to death by stoning for convictions including prostitution, incest and adultery. A 50-year-old male music teacher was condemned to a similar fate for having sex with one of his students.  

Sunday, 20 July 2008 15:20 UK 

Nine face stoning death in Iran

 The group, convicted of adultery and sex offences, could be executed at any time, lawyers defending them say..

The eight women sentenced, whose ages range from 27 to 43, had convictions including prostitution, incest and adultery, The man, a 50-year-old music teacher, was convicted of illegal sex with a student, reports said.  

       Our specific… demand is to have the stoning sentence stopped by Ayatollah Shahroudi since the defendants are liable to be stoned at any moment

Women ‘poorly represented’

In theory the penalty of stoning to death applies to both men and women.

But the lawyers say that in practice, many more women than men receive the sentence because they are less well educated and often poorly represented in court.  

Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 00:27 GMT 




Ayatollah Khamenei, the authority on matters of state

 End death by stoning

Amnesty International has urged Iran to drop from its penal code the punishment of death by stoning, a fate awaiting 11 convicted criminals, the group says.

Stoning to death is a “horrific practice, designed to increase the suffering” of those condemned, the UK-based rights group says in a report.

Kate Allen,
Amnesty director

Amnesty’s statement highlights the case of condemned woman Mokarrameh Ebrahimi.

The father of her children, both of whom were born outside wedlock, was stoned to death in July 2007.

Jafar Kiani was executed despite, five years earlier, the head of Iran’s judiciary reportedly issuing a moratorium on executions by stoning.

Amnesty says Ms Ebrahimi and eight other women and two men face a similar fate to Mr Kiani.

‘Unfair trials’

The majority of those sentenced to death by stoning are women, who suffer disproportionately from such punishment, Amnesty says.

It says they are not treated equally before the law and are particularly vulnerable to unfair trials because they are more likely to be illiterate and therefore sign confessions to crimes they did not commit.

One of the eight women currently facing execution was allegedly forced into prostitution by an abusive husband who was a heroin addict, Amnesty says.

She was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for being an accomplice to the murder of her husband – by one of her clients – and to death by stoning for adultery.

Iran applies a strict interpretation of Islamic law. Although stoning is not prescribed in the Koran, some scholars say it is in the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad.                           

 mahmoud-ahmadinejadPresident: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

 Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 07:17 GMT 08:17 UK

 Iran rapped over child executions

By Pam O’Toole BBC News

 Human rights group Amnesty International has called on Iran to halt the execution of child offenders.

In a new report, it says Iran is the only country to have executed child offenders so far this year.

It lists the names of 71 other child offenders it says are known to be facing the death penalty.

The organisation defines a “child offender” as a person convicted of crimes they committed when they were under the age of 18.

In a report entitled Iran: the Last Executioner of Children, Amnesty says that since 1990, 24 child offenders have been executed in Iran – more than in any other country in the world.


Two children executed so far this year

71 other child offenders face the death penalty

24 child offenders have been executed in Iran since 1990

Source: Amnesty International

Eleven of these people were still under 18 at the time of their execution, while the others were kept on death row until they reached 18 or were convicted and sentenced after reaching that age, the report says.

“Only three other countries have executed child offenders in the past three years according to information received by Amnesty International,” says Drewery Dyke of Amnesty International.

“In three years, Iran has executed more child offenders than all those other countries combined. It’s now the case that as of June 2007, Iran is the only country to have executed child offenders, having executed two in 2007.”


Amnesty notes Iran denies executing children.

But it says it is calling on the Iranian authorities to halt further executions of child offenders and amend laws so no minors who commit crimes can be sentenced to death.

Amnesty’s Drewery Dyke says public opinion in Iran is increasingly opposed to the death penalty for those who commit crimes under the age of 18.

“Iran is isolated in this regard. And it’s a tragic isolation, because it does not seem to be what defenders in Iran want, it does not seem to be entirely what a large part of the judiciary wants.

“It’s a practice that is increasingly out of step with what Iranians themselves expect from their judicial system.”

Amnesty says a draft law proposed by the judiciary in 2001 and still under consideration by the Iranian authorities could pave the way for the abolition of the death sentence for minors – or at least result in a reduction in the number of offences for which child offenders could be sentenced to death           

Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 19:14 GMT 20:14 UK 

Death verdicts for Iran reporters

 Iran has sentenced two dissident journalists from its ethnic Kurdish minority for being “enemies of God”.

Rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), says Adnan Hassanpour and Hiva Boutimar were sentenced by a court in the eastern city of Marivan.

The two journalists have 20 days to appeal against their sentences, but if their cases are rejected by the Supreme Court the sentence will be carried out.

Iran has executed over 100 people so far in 2007, most of them by hanging.


the two are members of the Kurdish minority.

Iran‘s Kurds are concentrated in the north-west of the country, near the border with Iraq, which itself is home to a large Kurdish minority.

RSF called the death sentences against Mr Hassanpour and Mr Botimar “outrageous and shameful”.

 Tuesday, 6 January 2009 

Country profile: Iran  

_39550324_iran_map2031Iran in Maps

Iran became a unique Islamic republic in 1979, when the monarchy was overthrown and religious clerics assumed political control under supreme leader Ayatollah Khomenei.

The Iranian revolution put an end to the rule of the Shah, who had alienated powerful religious and political forces with a program of modernization and Westernization.

Persia, as Iran was known before 1935, was one of the greatest empires of the ancient world, and the country has long maintained a distinct cultural identity within the Islamic world by retaining its own language and adhering to the Shia interpretation of Islam.


In 2002, US President George W Bush declared Iran as part of an “axis of evil”. Washington accuses it of undermining its efforts in Iraq and of trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran, which is building its first atomic power station with Russian help, says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.

In 2006 the government announced that it had succeeded in enriching uranium. President Ahmadinejad said Iran has an “inalienable right” to produce nuclear fuel.

The country has an abundance of energy resources – substantial oil reserves and natural gas reserves second only to those of Russia.


 Politics: Conservatives have kept reformers at bay and retain power in the complex system of religious and democratic government

Economy: Iran holds 9% of world oil reserves; a critical shortfall in jobs has hit the young

International: Iran has defied international pressure over its nuclear programme; it is accused of funding terrorism and some fear its burgeoning regional influence



Iran has been led by a conservative elite since 1979, but appeared to be entering another era of political and social transformation with the victory of the liberals in parliamentary elections in 2000.

But the reformists, kept on the political defensive by powerful conservatives in the government and judiciary, failed to make good on their promises.

Former President Mohammad Khatami’s support for greater social and political freedoms made him popular with the young – an important factor as around half of the population is under 25.

But his liberal ideas put him at odds with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and hardliners reluctant to lose sight of established Islamic traditions.

The elections of June 2005 dealt a blow to the reformists when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Tehran’s ultra-conservative mayor, became president.

Full name: Islamic Republic of Iran

Population: 71.2 million (UN, 2007)

Capital: Tehran

Area: 1.65 million sq km (636,313 sq miles)

Major language: Persian

Major religion: Islam

Life expectancy: 69 years (men), 73 years (women) (UN)

Monetary unit: 10 Iranian rials = 1 toman

Main exports: Petroleum, carpets, agricultural products

GNI per capita: US $3,470 (World Bank, 2007)

Internet domain: .ir

International dialling code: +98

Supreme leader: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

The supreme leader – the highest power in the land – appoints the head of the judiciary, military leaders, the head of radio and TV and Friday prayer leaders.


Ayatollah Khamenei, the authority on matters of state


Iran: Who holds the power?


Moreover, he selects six members of the Guardian Council, an influential body which has to pass all legislation and which can veto would-be election candidates.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was appointed for life in June 1989, succeeding Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic. He served two consecutive terms as president in the 1980s.

He has intervened on behalf of conservatives, coming into conflict with former president Mohammad Khatami and other reformists.

President: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Tehran’s ultra-conservative mayor, won a run-off vote in elections in June 2005, defeating his rival, the former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, to become Iran’s first non-cleric president for 24 years.  





Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defends Iran’s nuclear programme

Promising an administration of “peace and moderation”, he said his government would press on with Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.

Local elections in December 2006 – his first major test at the polls since coming to power – saw his allies trailing moderate conservatives and reformists.

But parliamentary elections in March 2008 – in which many pro-reform candidates were disbarred from standing – saw a strong showing not only by the president’s supporters but also by more pragmatic conservatives who oppose his confrontational style of dealing with western countries.

In March 2008 Mr Ahmadinejad made an unprecedented official visit to Iraq. He said the presence of foreign forces in Iraq was a humiliation and insult to the region.

Born near Tehran in 1956, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a former provincial governor and Revolutionary Guards officer. He was actively involved in the Islamic revolution and was a founding member of the student union that took over the US embassy in Tehran in 1979. But he denies being one of the hostage-takers.

The struggle for influence and power in Iran is played out in the media.

The press in Iran

The relatively free press, a tangible achievement of former President Khatami’s government, has been targeted by conservatives. Many pro-reform publications have been closed and reformist writers and editors jailed. The conservative judiciary has also campaigned against the liberal media.

There are some 20 major national dailies, but few Iranians buy a newspaper every day. Sports titles are the biggest sellers.

Broadcasters are more restricted than the press. Despite a ban on owning dishes, foreign satellite TV channels are widely watched; this is largely tolerated by the authorities. Stations operated by exiles in the US were said to have played a role in student protests in 2003.

State-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting – IRIB – operates national and provincial networks. Its Jaam-e Jam international TV channels are available worldwide via satellite. IRIB targets Arabic speakers in Iraq and the Middle East via the Al-Alam and Al-Kawthar TV networks.

It launched an English-language satellite station, Press TV, in 2007. President Ahmadinejad said its mission would be “to stand by the oppressed of the world”.

Television is very popular, with more than 80% of Iranians being regular viewers. The most-watched network is the third state channel, the youth channel.

IRIB’s radio channels include a parliamentary network and Radio Koran. The Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, an external radio service, broadcasts via shortwave and the internet.


Iran online: Internet use has mushroomed


Iran’s leaders harness media power

By early 2008 there were around 23 million internet users (InternetWorldStats). The web is the main forum for dissident voices. Access is easy to arrange and affordable for middle-class households.

However, service providers are prevented from allowing access to sites deemed to be pornographic or anti-Islamic.

News sites are becoming increasingly important in providing information and insight. They often have strong political leanings. There are tens of thousands of weblogs, with bloggers active both in Iran and among the diaspora. Officials, including President Ahmadinezhad, have launched blogs.

Foreign broadcasters target audiences in Iran; they include the Washington-backed Radio Farda, a music-based station aimed at younger audiences.

Iranian cleric calls for shooting Livni

Saturday, January 17, 2009, (Cairo)

Associated Press 




Saturday, January 17, 2009, (Cairo)

 A high-level Iranian cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati has called for the shooting of the Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni in a speech before worshippers.

Jannati is the head of the powerful hardline Iranian Council of Guardians which ensures the government remains true to the principles of the Islamic revolution.





 photos  Tzipi Livni