Will Clinton do anything to save Iranian woman from stoning?

An Iranian woman who received a stoning sentence could be executed — possibly in a week’s time after Ramadan ends — but will Secretary Clinton do anything to save her? France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said Sept. 6 that the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has become his "personal cause" and declared, "I’m ready to do ...

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

An Iranian woman who received a stoning sentence could be executed -- possibly in a week's time after Ramadan ends -- but will Secretary Clinton do anything to save her?

France's foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said Sept. 6 that the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has become his "personal cause" and declared, "I'm ready to do anything to save her. If I must go to Tehran to save her, I'll go to Tehran."

Today, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called the stoning sentence "barbaric beyond words." In late July, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva offered Ashtiani asylum, though he was rebuffed by Iran. The Vatican is considering using behind-the-scenes diplomacy to save the woman's life. People worldwide have held demonstrations, such as the Aug. 5 one in Berlin, as seen above.

An Iranian woman who received a stoning sentence could be executed — possibly in a week’s time after Ramadan ends — but will Secretary Clinton do anything to save her?

France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said Sept. 6 that the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani has become his "personal cause" and declared, "I’m ready to do anything to save her. If I must go to Tehran to save her, I’ll go to Tehran."

Today, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called the stoning sentence "barbaric beyond words." In late July, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva offered Ashtiani asylum, though he was rebuffed by Iran. The Vatican is considering using behind-the-scenes diplomacy to save the woman’s life. People worldwide have held demonstrations, such as the Aug. 5 one in Berlin, as seen above.

Clinton’s only public effort on Ashtiani’s behalf has basically amounted to an Aug. 10 statement in which she said, "We remain troubled by the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani" "Troubled" is putting it mildly; horrified is more like it.

Of course, the United States does not have official relations with Iran, and Clinton must consider how anything she does on Ashtiani’s behalf would affect other Iran-related issues, such as the country’s nuclear program and support for Hezbollah.

Still, being a defender of persecuted women is right up Clinton’s alley; it’s something she’s deeply passionate about. So, it’s disheartening that one of the world’s most powerful women isn’t doing or can’t do more.

Ashtiani’s stoning sentence for adultery was stayed in July after international outcry, and Iran has said she could be hanged instead. Her fate is unclear. Her son told a Paris news conference by phone on Sept. 6 that he fears his mother could be executed after Ramadan ends late this week.

(If you wish to send a message to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei about this case, you can do so through Amnesty International’s website by clicking here.)

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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