TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s foreign ministry criticised the media on Tuesday for branding French first lady Carla Bruni as “prostitute” after she expressed support for a woman sentenced to death by stoning.
“Insulting officials of other countries and using indecent words is not endorsed by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters.
“We don’t think using indecent and insulting words is a right move,” he said when asked to comment on Iranian media reports that described Bruni as an “immoral” woman and a “prostitute”.
“I hope the media will pay attention. The media can criticise the hostile policies of other countries, but by refraining from using insulting words. This is not correct.”
On Saturday, Iran’s hardline daily Kayhan made a blistering attack on the wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy by branding her a “prostitute”.
It ran a story headlined “French prostitutes enter the human rights uproar,” in which it criticised Bruni and French actress Isabelle Adjani for supporting Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, the 43-year-old Iranian mother of two, who has been sentenced to death by stoning.
“Bruni, the singer and depraved actress who managed to break the Sarkozy family and marry the French president and who is said to have an affair with a singer, has said in S.M’s (Sakineh Mohammadi) defence that the verdict is unfair,” Kayhan wrote.
On Monday, the website www.inn.ir followed Kayhan’s lead and also branded Bruni a “husband cheater,” saying “her record clearly shows why this immoral woman has supported an Iranian woman who has been convicted of committing adultery and of being an accomplice in her husband’s murder.”
“This promiscuous woman of Italian origin, due to her race and actions, is not popular among the French people,” the website of government-run Iran group of news outlets said.
Bruni, Sarkozy’s third wife, angered the two media outlets by signing a petition for the release of Mohammadi-Ashtiani whose death by stoning sentence has generated an international outcry.
Human rights officials in the Iranian judiciary say Mohammadi-Ashtiani was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery in a case which also got her a 10-year jail term for participating in her husband’s murder.
Iran says it has yet to take a final decision on the stoning of Mohammadi-Ashtiani.
“In this case, implementation of the sentence has been stayed and is under review by the judiciary,” Mehmanparast told AFP last week.
Kayhan, whose managing director and chief editor is appointed by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is known for harshly insulting Iranian and foreign figures.
It has been dragged to court previously by many Iranians, including Nobel peace winner Shirin Ebadi and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, a top aide of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.