Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said on Wednesday he would not sign an execution order for former foreign minister Tariq Aziz, French television France 24 reported. Aziz was sentenced to death by hanging last month over the persecution of Iraqi religious parties. "No, I will not sign the execution order for Tariq Aziz because I am a socialist," Talabani said in an interview with France 24. "I sympathize with Tariq Aziz because he is an Iraqi Christian. Moreover he is an old man who is over 70." Aziz was already serving a 15-year sentence after being found guilty in the execution of traders in 1992 under the Saddam Hussein regime. Aziz, now 74, suffered a stroke in January.