Iran has warned western countries not to interfere in the case of a woman originally sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman in Tehran said the furore over the case has been stoked by the west to damage Iran. He insisted that judicial procedures were strict.
Last week Iranian TV broadcast pictures purportedly showing Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani admitting having an extra-marital affair and confessing to complicity in her husband’s killing.
The alleged confession was greeted with scepticism and alarm. Ashtiani’s lawyer fled to Norway, claiming his client had been tortured beforehand.
The stoning sentence has been suspended pending a review.
But the Iranian authorities have been accused of adding charges relating to murder, which it is feared could pave the way for Ashtiani to be hanged.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has rejected an offer by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with whom he has good relations, to grant the woman asylum in his country.
In the west the case has generated an outcry, with numerous protests taking place in cities, including London and Berlin.