The Islamic Republic’s intention to stone Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to death has unleashed a historically unprecedented amount of international public fury and pressure on the Islamic Republic. The regime did not expect this response from the world, and it has been caught off guard.
In an effort to buy time to decide how to react to the global pressure, and in an effort to reduce the intensity of the pressure that is mounting, the Islamic Republic’s Embassy in the UK has issued a statement noting that Ms. Ashtiani “will not be executed by stoning.”
This letter does not deny that Ms. Ashtiani is under a sentence of death. It does not preclude her execution by other means such as hanging. It gives no guarantee of her justly-demanded freedom.
The letter also states that stoning “has rarely been implemented in Iran.” The regime’s admission to the use of the barbaric practice of stoning nevertheless contains a documentable falsehood: evidence of the extent to which stoning has been practiced by the Islamic Republic is forthcoming.
By denying the intention to execute Ms. Ashtiani by stoning, the Islamic Republic has been forced to retreat from its preferred position, and this is a victory for us, but this is a little victory. It is a step forward, only one step.
Dissembling by the Islamic Republic notwithstanding, the Campaign to Save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani will continue in full force until our demands are met:
1. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani must be released immediately and without condition. The world should hear her voice outside of the prison, announcing her freedom.
2. All those sentenced to be stoned for adultery must be released immediately and without condition.
3. The practice of stoning must be outlawed immediately.
4. All executions must be stopped immediately.
5. Zeinab Jalalian and Mohammad Reza Haddadi should be released immediately and without condition.
If the Islamic Republic thinks that it has seen pressure with this campaign to save Sakineh, it should recognize that this is only the beginning. The campaign to save Sakine points out our next steps: we will amplify our demands to remove the Islamic Republic from the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The Islamic Republic is indisputably undeserving of a seat on that Commission — or on any other international decisionmaking body.
Mission Free Iran
July 8 2010