Iran executed Jewish woman and her husband, State Dept. says [UPDATE]

A Jewish woman and her Armenian Christian husband were executed in Iran for undisclosed reasons, a top State Department official said.

Michael Posner, the assistant secretary of state for human rights, testified Wednesday at a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Iran’s human rights.

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; tough prison conditions for political detainees; and that “a Jewish woman and her Armenian-Christian husband were reportedly executed based on undisclosed charges.”

He did not name the couple.

However, an Iranian human rights group, the Human Rights Activists News Agency, has reported that Adiva Soleyman and Varjan Petrosian were hung on March 14 at Evin Prison, a facility for political prisoners in northwest Iran. It identified Soleyman as Jewish and Petrosian as Armenian.

The agency quoted a Revolutionary Court as confirming the executions, along with those of three other people who were unidentified.

HRANA said relatives of the dead who tried to recover the bodies for ritual burial were threatened with arrest.