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Iran Warns Against Interference in German Journalists' Case

Iranian Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, left, who has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, attends a news briefing as she meets with her son, Sajjad, in the northwestern city of Tabriz, Iran, 01 Jan 2011.

Iran has warned that foreign campaigns to free two German journalists detained while covering the case of a woman sentenced to death by stoning could backfire.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that pressure would have the opposite effect. He urged Germany to avoid politicizing the issue.

Iranian authorities arrested the two Germans in October on charges of entering the country on tourist visas. Tehran said they failed to obtain proper journalist credentials.

Recently, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and about 100 other high-profile German figures signed a letter urging Iran to release the two journalists.

The German weekly Bild am Sonntag has said two of its employees, who have not been named, traveled to Iran to investigate the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.

Her case drew an international outcry after Tehran sentenced the Iranian mother of two to death by stoning for an adultery conviction. Iran has since put her case on hold.

In late December, Iran allowed the journalists to have their first visit with family members. The meeting took place at a prison in the northwestern city of Tabriz.

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