Israeli-born woman executed in Iran also was U.S. citizen

An Israeli-born Jewish woman who was executed in Iran along with her Armenian Christian husband also was an American citizen.

Adiva Mirza Soleyman Kalimia was born in Jerusalem in 1956 to an Iranian Jewish family, according to reports. She had resided in Miami for several years. She visited Iran three times in recent years before being arrested and put in prison.

The Human Rights Activists News Agency reported that Kalimia and Varjan Petrosian were hanged March 14 at Evin Prison, a facility for political prisoners in northwest Iran. It identified Kalimia as Jewish and Petrosian as Armenian.

The agency quoted a Revolutionary Court as confirming the executions, along with those of three others who were unidentified. It said relatives of the dead who tried to recover the bodies for ritual burial were threatened with arrest.

The official cause of Kalimia’s arrest reportedly was adultery.

Michael Posner, the assistant secretary of state for human rights, had not named the couple when he testified May 11 at a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Iran’s human rights that a Jewish woman and her Armenian Christian husband had been executed in Iran for undisclosed reasons.

Posner said human rights in the Islamic Republic had deteriorated in the first part of 2011. He listed as examples mass executions; the killing of protesters in Tehran and among ethnic Arabs; harsh prison sentences for Baha’i leaders; and tough prison conditions for political detainees. — jta