'Prostitute' Carla Bruni deserves death: Iran's Kayhan
A hardline Iranian daily stepped up its attack on France's first lady Carla Bruni, saying on Tuesday the "Italian prostitute" deserved to die for supporting an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning.
"This Italian prostitute's indignation at Kayhan's report came while she has had illegitimate relationships with different people before and after marrying (French President Nicolas) Sarkozy," Kayhan said.
"Reviewing Carla Bruni's records clearly shows why this immoral woman has supported an Iranian woman who has committed adultery, has contributed to the murdering of her husband and has been sentenced to death, and in fact she herself (Bruni) deserves death," Kayhan said.
Bruni, Sarkozy's third wife, angered Kayhan by signing a petition along with other French celebrities for the release of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, the 43-year-old mother of two whose sentence to death by stoning has generated an international outcry.
Defending Mohammadi-Ashtiani in an open letter, Bruni vowed that France and her husband would not abandon her.
She criticised the stoning sentence, saying: "Why shed your blood and deprive your children of their mother? Because you have lived, because you have loved, because you're a woman, and because you're an Iranian? Everything within me refuses to accept this."
Human rights officials in the Iranian judiciary say Mohammadi-Ashtiani was sentenced to death for adultery in a case that 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.
France said the insults against Bruni were "unacceptable."
"The insults in the daily Kayhan and picked up by Iranian websites against several French figures, including Mrs Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, are unacceptable," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
"We're making this message known by normal diplomatic channels."
Earlier this year, Sarkozy and Bruni-Sarkozy were forced to deny unsourced Internet rumours that they had both had affairs. Prior to her marriage to the president, Bruni-Sarkozy made no secret of not being monogamous.
The Iranian foreign ministry, meanwhile, on Tuesday joined in criticism of the media attacks on Bruni.
"Insulting officials of other countries and using indecent words is not endorsed by the Islamic Republic of Iran," spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Tuesday.
"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."
Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini called the newspaper's remarks "horrendous" and said that while the Iranian government had already criticised the comments, he hoped it would "again distance itself" from them.
"I also hope the Iranian government will show mercy and spare Sakineh's life," Frattini told reporters.
Kayhan, whose managing director and chief editor is appointed by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, launched a vitriolic attack on Bruni on Saturday.
The newspaper made a blistering assault in a story headlined "French prostitutes enter the human rights uproar," in which it criticised Bruni and French actress Isabelle Adjani for supporting Mohammadi-Ashtiani.
"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 branded Bruni a "husband cheater."
"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.
© 2010 AFP