An Iranian man was seconds away from being executed for stabbing a young man to death, when the victim's mother unexpectedly pardoned him and saved his life.

The man, referred to in the press only as Balal, was scheduled to be hanged for the murder of 18-year-old Abdollah Hosseinzadeh. According to reports, Balal and Hosseinzadeh got into a street fight in 2007 that resulted in Balal stabbing him to death with a kitchen knife.

Hosseinzadeh's parents were supposed to kick the chair out from under Balal after the noose was tied around his neck. But when Hosseinzadeh's mother approached the stage, she had a change of heart, according to reports, and slapped him instead.

"I am a believer," said the victim's mother, Samereh Alinejad, according to Agence France-Presse. "I had a dream in which my son told me that he was at peace and in a good place … After that, all my relatives, even my mother, put pressure on me to pardon the killer."

Alinejad then told the man he was forgiven and her husband removed the noose from his neck. It's not clear what will happen to Balal—according to the Guardian, parents are only given a say in matters of capital punishment and the state retains the power to assign prison sentences.

[image via AP]