Brazil Offers Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Safe Haven, Asks Iran To Allow It

07/31/2010 07:43 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

SAO PAULO — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva offered on Saturday to provide refuge to a woman who has been sentenced to death in Iran following her conviction for committing adultery.

The case created an international outcry when Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani initially was sentenced to death by stoning. Iran withdrew that part of the sentence earlier this month, but the mother of two could still face execution by hanging.

During a campaign rally for his party's presidential candidate, Silva appealed to Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "to allow Brazil to grant political asylum to this woman."

"If she is causing problems there, we will welcome her here," Silva added, according to Brazil's official news service, Agencia Brasil.

Silva's government has built closer relations with Tehran in recent years. Brazil worked with Turkey earlier this year to work out a proposal aimed at resolving Iran's dispute with the West over its nuclear program.

The plan called for Iran to exchange uranium for nuclear reactor fuel rods, but the proposal didn't meet U.N. Security Council demands that Iran halt its uranium enrichment. The Security Council approved a fourth round of sanctions on Iran in the dispute, and the United States and European Union later imposed their own additional sanctions.

The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for developing atomic weapons. Iran denies doing that, saying its program is intended for peaceful purposes such as electricity production.