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Iranian Media Says French First Lady Deserves Death

An Iranian newspaper said on Tuesday that France's first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy deserves to die after she condemned Iran's decision to stone a woman to death for adultery.

The hardline newspaper Kayhan first labeled Bruni-Sarkozy a prostitute on Saturday after the first lady signed a petition calling for the release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.

Iranian state television has also accused Bruni-Sarkozy of "immorality." And again on Tuesday, Iranian state-controlled media repeated the prostitute charge.

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman has said the Islamic Republic does not support the media criticisms.

The attacks surfaced after Bruni-Sarkozy and several other French celebrities wrote open letters to Ashtiani pledging their support. The Iranian woman was sentenced to death by stoning after being convicted of having an illicit relationship with two men following her husband's death.

Iranian judicial authorities said Saturday they have not made a final decision in Ashtiani's case. However she remains under a death sentence and could be executed by other methods such as hanging.

Last week French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner asked the European Union to come up with new approaches to pressure Iran in the case.

Tehran's ISNA news agency said a communiqué from the Judiciary High Council of Human Rights criticized other countries for a "wrong, unfair and biased prejudgment" in the case, which has drawn international outcry.

Several hundred demonstrators carrying photos of Ashtiani marched in Paris on Saturday to protest her execution sentence. Demonstrators called her plight a women's rights issue.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.