Brazil's Lula 'emotional'

2010-08-03 16:02

Tehran - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is being "emotional" and acting out of ignorance in making his offer of asylum to an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning, an official said on Tuesday.

"Mr Da Silva has a very emotional and humane character... and probably enough information about this case has not been presented to him," foreign ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters.

"What can be done here is to let him know about the details of the case of this person who has committed a crime so that he understands the case," he added.

Lula on Saturday offered to give asylum to Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, who has been sentenced to death by stoning by an Iranian court on charges of adultery.

"I want to make an appeal to my friend (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, the supreme leader of Iran (Ali Khamenei), and to the government of Iran" to allow Brazil to take in the woman, Lula said during a campaign rally for his chosen successor in the southern city of Curitiba.

"I have to respect a country's laws, but if my friendship and regard I have for the president of Iran and the Iranian people is worth something, if this woman is causing discomfort, we could take her in, in Brazil."

The stoning sentence of Mohammadi-Ashtiani, which has provoked an international outcry, has been temporarily suspended by Iranian judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani.

Washington, meanwhile, urged Iran on Monday to accept Lula's offer.

"If Brazil is willing to accept... this woman, we would hope that Iran would consider that as a humanitarian gesture," State Department spokesperson Philip Crowley said.

"And the fact that Brazil has stepped up and indicated a willingness to resolve it, we hope Iran will listen."