Dating by mobile phone
No one knows how many people have been stoned but at least 11 people are in prison under sentence of stoning, according to an Iranian human rights lawyer, Shadi Sadr.
Sadr, who has represented five people sentenced to stoning, said Iran carried out stonings in secret in prisons, in the desert or very early in the morning in cemeteries. The Islamic Republic pretends that they don't care about their reputation, but they do care a lot," added Sadr, who lives in exile in Britain.
Origins Stoning has been used as a form of community justice throughout history in various religious and cultural traditions, many pre-dating Islam.
Unlike beheading, which is performed by a single executioner, stoning is carried out by a group.
Men accused of adultery are also more likely to have the means to hire lawyers, and their greater physical freedom makes it easier for them to flee in situations where they risk extrajudicial stoning. Convictions are frequently based on confessions made under duress.
As adultery is difficult to prove, judges in Iran can also convict on the basis of gut feeling rather than evidence.
The treaty, which Iran and Pakistan have signed, allows countries to execute people only for "the most serious crimes".But supporters argue that it is legitimised by the Hadith – the acts and sayings of the Prophet Mohamed.Stoning is set out as a specific punishment for adultery under several interpretations of sharia or Islamic law.In 2010, the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman sentenced to death by stoning for alleged adultery, caused international outcry.The authorities have suspended her sentence but she remains in prison.
In some countries, such as Mauritania and Qatar, stoning has never been used although it remains legal.