By politics.co.uk staff
William Hague has added his voice to international condemnation of Iran's planned stoning to death of a convicted adulterer.
The foreign secretary reiterated his horror at the impending execution of 43-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, as hope emerged that the mother of two may escape the brutal death currently planned.
"I'm appalled by reports of the imminent execution," the AFP news agency quoted Mr Hague as saying.
"I think that stoning is a medieval punishment that has no place in the modern world and the continued use of such a punishment in Iran demonstrates in our view a blatant disregard for human rights."
Iran's envoy to the Vatican has indicated there is "hope" for Ms Ashtiani, whose punishment may be reviewed by the authorities. Stoning is an acceptable form of execution sanctioned by the state.
"I do call on Iran to put an immediate stay to this execution and review the process by which this woman is tried and I think if this punishment were carried out, it would disgust and appal the watching world," Mr Hague added.
Ms Ashtiani could yet lose her life for her role in the 2005 murder of her husband, however - which would see her hanged.