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Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani faces death in Iran for adultery, her stoning sentence recently commuted to hanging. French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy published an open letter supporting Ashtiani. In response, an Iranian state-run newspaper, the Kayhan daily, called Bruni a "prostitute" who "deserves to die."

Unsurprisingly, this response has made headlines even in the English-language media. The blogosphere is somewhere between outraged and flatly derisive.

  • Has Government Fingerprints All Over It, argues one-time Iranian political prisoner Marina Nemat at The Huffington Post. Despite the foreign ministry's attempt to distance the government from the paper's outlandish rhetoric, "the Iranian foreign-ministry spokesperson conveniently forgot to mention that the editor-in-chief of Kayhan newspaper has been appointed by Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader and is very much in line with the Iranian government." The "attack on Bruni" is one more case of Iranian authorities "trying to distract the world from the terrible disregard for human rights in their country," writes Nemat. To conclude, she reviews the institutionalized rape in Iran known as "sigeh," a temporary marriage: "If the Iranian authorities believe that Bruni is a prostitute, then what should we call the men who rape underage girls without a second thought, get away with it, and are even encouraged by Iranian law?"
  • Iranian Government: 'Evil' and 'Babyish,' declares Julie Burchill at British publication The Independent. "Let us not forget that these clowns also boast another newspaper, Hamshahri, which four years ago launched a Holocaust cartoon competition." A few more choice words:

I must say that I was perplexed, though, by the reference to Mrs Sarkozy as a "hypocrite", while drawing ungentlemanly attention to her sexual generosity over the years. (Sexual charity, even, if you count Mick Jagger, who looks as if a very bored giant practised origami on his face for a very long time.)

Surely wishing women not to be put to death for committing adultery, if you are yourself a woman who has slept with married men, is the opposite of hypocrisy--ie, damn good sense? Surely a hypocrite would be a woman who had committed adultery yet wanted other women to be stoned to death for it? 

  • An Aside: Mick Jagger? Seriously?  Burchill isn't the only one to bring this up. Alex DiBranco at, while pointing out that "advocating killing the first lady of another country is not the best idea for a state-run paper," reviews the ways in which Bruni's life might clash with Iranian expectations and points out that if Bruni slept with Jagger because she was "bored with monogamy," monogamy is looking better by the second.
  • What If the Iranians Discovered Getty Images? wonders Foreign Policy's Andrew Swift, contemplating the photo accompanying his post which shows Bruni talking with actor Owen Wilson. "Would it assert that Bruni's pictures with Woody Allen suggest that she is in line with the Zionist conspiracy to control the world through neurotic humor?"
  • Example A in 'the Lunacy of Iranian Engagement,' snorts Commentary's Jennifer Rubin.

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