This is extremely awful and sad and I will not approach it with the usual sarcastic disdain with which I usually approach Shakesville.
The punishment to which Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was sentenced (I see there may now be a reprieve) is horrifying. And I'm not going to object to people worldwide working to call attention to it, per se; though I think that that time could be more productively spent calling attention to local atrocities (of which there is never anything approaching a shortage), I'm not in any position to judge priorities and I'm not heartless enough to tell people to mind their own business when the horrible death of a human being is involved.
However, calling upon members of the leadership of the United States of America to "to take a bold stance on behalf of the women of Iran" is exactly the wrong way to do it. Taking a bold stance of behalf of the women of Kuwait was part of our justification of the initial invasion of Iraq in 1990, and taking a bold stance on behalf of the women of Iraq was part of the justification for the massive, definitive escalation there in 2003. In the meantime, taking a bold stance on behalf of the women of Afghanistan was part of the drumbeat to war there well before 9/11, and this bold stance became even bolder in the run-up to the full-scale invasion afterward.
When I saw McEwan's letter to Hillary Clinton at the end of the post, a chill went down my back.
Bold stances on behalf of the women of the world are wonderful things, coming from people who care about humanity. Coming from our leaders, they're just another excuse for death, death, death. This is yet another reason why, if we truly want to change things in this life, appealing to power to provide us with top-down solutions is never, ever going to work.