AN Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning has confessed to being an accomplice to the murder of her husband, according to an interview aired on state television.

The interview was with a woman in a face-covering chador whom the report said was Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two whose death sentence has drawn outcry from many countries.  It was aired last night during a political broadcast that denounced the “propaganda of Western media” about the case it said was being used to pressure Iran over its controversial nuclear program.

In it, the woman said to be Mohammadi-Ashtiani admitted that a man with whom she was acquainted had offered to kill her husband and that she let him carry out the crime.  Her remarks were made in Azeri and translated into Persian.

The chief justice of East Azerbaijan province, where the alleged crime took place in 2006, told the TV show that Mohammadi-Ashtiani injected her husband with a substance that made him unconscious before the killer electrocuted him.

Iranian officials have maintained that the sentence was for murder, although initial reports said she was acquitted of that and only convicted for “having an illicit relationship outside marriage”.  Her stoning sentence has been temporarily suspended by Iranian judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani.

Brazil’s Foreign Minister Celso Amorim on Wednesday urged Iran to make a “humanitarian gesture” towards the woman, stressing it would be good for the image of the Islamic republic.  Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaie, fled to Norway after Iranian officials issued an arrest warrant for him and detained his wife.

The human rights lawyer, who says he has rescued 18 of 40 clients from the death penalty in Iran in recent years, said he was considering seeking asylum in the Scandinavian country.