Iran warns Malaysia against hanging Iranian women
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi speaks during the weekly press conference in Tehran on August 10, 2009
"The execution of two Iranian women in Malaysia will have negative effect on our bilateral ties," Hassan Ghashghavi, deputy foreign minister in charge of consular affairs, was quoted as saying by official news agency IRNA.
Ghashghavi said Malaysia should spare the women "so that the friendship and brotherhood between Iran and Malaysia can continue".
His remarks came amid reports of two Iranian women, identified as Shahrzad Mansour, 31, and Neda Mostafaei, 26, being sentenced to death for trafficking methamphetamine into Malaysia in December 2010.
"Drug traffickers" had promised the women a free trip to Malaysia, a hotspot of Iranian tourists due to its easy visa rules towards the Islamic republic, according to Iran's anti-drug police chief colonel Ali Moayedi.
In exchange, Moayedi said, the pair were asked to take bags of "food items" with them, which were filled with methamphetamine without their knowledge.
They were arrested at customs at Kuala Lumpur airport, Iranian media reported.
Tehran's warning came as Iranian judicial officials on Wednesday looked set to spare the life of a convicted drug trafficker who survived execution by hanging earlier this month.
Iran has one of the world's highest execution rates, with more than 500 cases last year and almost the same number so far this year, according to human rights watchdogs.
Tehran says the death penalty is essential to maintain law and order, and that it is applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.
Murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and adultery are among the crimes punishable by death in Iran, based on its interpretation of sharia law in force since its 1979 Islamic revolution.
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