“Nazam-e ghazayi dar tangena: Tahlili bar arayesh niruha-ye movafegh va mokhalef-e sangsar” (The Judicial System in Crisis: An Analysis of the Formation of Pro- and Anti-Stoning Forces)

This article was written shortly after the stoning of Jafar Kiani in the summer of 2007. Abbagholizadeh gives a very useful analysis on the history of the development of stoning in Iran after the 1979 Revolution and the changing opinions on stoning from religious experts and politicians during that time. Abbasgholizdeh argues that there has never been a consensus amongst government officials or religious leaders concerning stoning. Even amongst political leaders, there are many factions who do not support stoning and the ones that do are not equipped with a standard or uniform defense of the punishment.

Abbasgholizadeh outlines for us differing opinions from various respected religious officials (mojtaheds), illustrating that there is no clear agreement on if and how the stoning sentence should be implemented. The diversity of the opinions of the ulama and mojtaheds shows that one cannot definitively rule on the legality of stoning based on fiqh alone (i.e. outside the realm of politics).

She then argues that two main political forces have influenced the development of stoning in Iran: first, pragmatism that argues that stoning should be banned because it promotes the degradation of Islam (“Vahn-e Islam”) and second, moralism or fundamentalism, which ignores Iran’s human rights commitments and aligns itself with traditionalist fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudence. Under pragmatic concerns, stoning has been carried out in secret due to fears that its open implementation would cause degradation of Islam and pressure by the international community. (In Persian)

Abbasgholizadeh, Mahboubeh
Source publication: 
Zanan. No. 86 (Tir). 10 Mordad 1386 (1 August 2007.)