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Official: 'Good Chance' Iranian Woman Sentenced to Stoning, Hanging Could be Spared

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"biased, unrealistic and hypocritical and malicious"

The Iranian Human Rights Council says there is a "good chance" a woman originally sentenced to death by stoning and later by hanging could be spared.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted of adultery and conspiring to kill her husband in 2006 and sentenced to death by hanging. Earlier this month the Iranian human rights group said that the stoning had been stayed and that instead Ashtiani would be hanged -- a punishment it said could be carried out at any moment.

The hanging, however, has not occurred, and now Iran's Human Rights Council has said Ashtiani's execution may not happen at all. But that isn't stopping the group from criticizing the United States for what it says amounts to hypocrisy.

"Iran's Council of Human Rights has helped a lot to reduce her sentence and we think there is a good chance that her life could be saved," Secretary General of Iran's High Council for Human Rights Mohammed Javad Larijani told Press TV.

If saved, Larijani made it clear that Iran would trump the U.S. "In the U.S.," he said, "a woman killed her husband, with the aid of her ex-lover, and even though she was suffering from mental disorder, she was sentenced to the capital punishment and was executed."

He was referring to 41-year-old Teresa Lewis who was executed in September in Virginia for plotting the murder of her husband and stepson in 2002.

"Nothing is said about the American woman, but there are lots of criticism regarding our judicial system," Larijani said. He thinks that shows "how biased, unrealistic and hypocritical and malicious" this media hype about Iran is.

In addition, he blamed U.S. criticism of the proposed execution on America's displeasure with Iran's form of democracy. "He said Iran's model of democracy had turned the country into a leading state in the Middle East in science and technology," Press TV reports, "which led Iran to be the first country in the Middle East to have a nuclear power plant."

Iran currently sits on the UN's Council on Women.

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