The execution of an Iranian man convicted of murder was called off only moments before his hanging was set to take place, after the mother of the killer’s victim requested a pardon.

Balal Abdullah was sentenced to death after he stabbed Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, who was 17 at the time, to death during a street fight in the town of Royan seven years ago. Abdullah, 24, was scheduled to be hanged on Tuesday in the city of Nowshah.

As the noose was tightened around Abdullah’s neck, Hosseinzadeh’s mother approached the convicted killer and announced that she had chosen to forgive him. Hosseinzadeh’s father untied the noose a short while later.

Abdullah’s own mother ran up to Hosseinzadeh’s mother and hugged her. The two proceeded to weep in each other’s arms.

Hosseinzadeh’s father stated that he and his spouse had decided to pardon the young Abdullah following a dream his wife had, in which their son begged them them not to avenge his death.

Balal Abdullah (L) and Abdollah Hosseinzadeh's mother, who decided to pardon her son's killer (photo credit: AFP/Arash Khamooshi/ISNA)

Balal Abdullah (left) and Abdollah Hosseinzadeh’s mother, who decided to pardon her son’s killer. (photo credit: AFP/Arash Khamooshi/ISNA)

“Three days ago, my wife saw my elder son in a dream telling her that they are in a good place, and for her not to retaliate,” he said. “This calmed my wife and we decided to think more until the day of the execution.”

Despite his pardon, Abdullah will most probably remain in prison.

According to a literal interpretation of Sharia law, the parents of a murder victim may take part in the hanging of the killer by kicking the chair out from under his feet. On the other hand, the parents may choose to spare the convict’s life.

Moments before the reprieve (photo credit: AFP/Arash Khamooshi/ISNA)

Moments before the reprieve (photo credit: AFP/Arash Khamooshi/ISNA)

After China, Iran has the highest number of executions of any country in the world, according to Amnesty International. Forty executions have been carried out in Iran since the beginning of 2014, with at least 33 carried out in the month of January alone.