Iran's judiciary has announced it will review the sentence of a prominent academic condemned to death for questioning clerical rule in the Islamic Republic.
A judiciary spokesman (Hossein Mirmohammad-Sadeqi) in Tehran said today (Monday) the judiciary has decided to review the case of reformist professor Hashem Aghajari -- in line with an order from the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Ayatollah Khamenei ordered the review last week. The judiciary spokesman did not give a date when the review will take place.
Meanwhile, Iranian authorities have forced pro-reform university students to call a halt to two weeks of protests against Mr. Aghajari's death sentence. Student leaders say university chiefs have refused to give permission for any further campus rallies.
On Sunday, thousands of Iranian conservatives demonstrated in Tehran denouncing the students' protests. At least 10-thousand people -- mostly members of the hard-line Basij militia -- gathered outside the former U-S embassy in Tehran, shouting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."
The political tension comes at a time when reformist President Mohammad Khatami is trying to curb the influence of conservatives, who control the key functions of power in the government.
Mr. Aghajari was convicted on blasphemy charges by a court in the western city of Hamadan after saying Muslims were not "monkeys" who should blindly follow the dictates of ruling Islamic clerics. Students have also been calling for greater freedom of speech and political reforms.