As part of Bernard-Henri Levy's letter-writing campaign to get the Iranian government to lift Ashtiani's sentence (imposed for her alleged adultery), Bruni wrote to the Iranian mom, "Please know from within your cell that my husband will plead ceaselessly for your release and that France will not abandon you." So Iran's state-run newspaper Kayhan responded with an editorial titled, "French prostitutes join the human rights protest."
The piece also mentions French actress Isabelle Adjani, and criticizes Bruni for her relationships with famous men. A state news website echoed the criticisms, and Iran's state-run TV station has also joined in, claiming that Bruni is only speaking out about Ashtiani to "justify her own 'immorality.'" This media blitz seem to bode ill for the international community's hopes of pressuring Iran into releasing Ashtiani — at least as of now, the Iranian government seems intent on convincing its people that Ashtiani's foreign supporters are not just wrong but also personally repugnant. And while it's probably too much to ask when a woman faces execution for the "crime" of adultery (a crime for which she already received 99 lashes), will we ever see a day when the word "prostitute" is no longer an insult?
Iran Media Call French First Lady 'Prostitute' [AP, via Broadsheet]
French First Lady Carla Bruni Writes To Sakineh Ashtiani [Digital Journal]
'Carla Bruni Is A Prostitute', Says Iranian Newspaper [BBC]