White House and State Department Appeal for Iranian Pastor’s
White House and State Department Appeal for Iranian Pastor’s Life
by Steve Eastman
No one outside the government of Iran knows for know for sure if Youcef Nadarkhani is still alive. It’s believed his execution order has already been signed.
Despite pressure from Iranian officials, the 34 year-old pastor has refused to deny Christ and “accept the prophet Muhammad as his savior." He was first detained by the Islamic regime in 2009.
This week the White House released this statement:
“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms reports that Iranian authorities’ reaffirmed a death sentence for Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for the sole reason of his refusal to recant his Christian faith. This action is yet another shocking breach of Iran’s international obligations, its own constitution, and stated religious values. The United States stands in solidarity with Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and all those who seek to practice their religion without fear of persecution — a fundamental and universal human right. The trial and sentencing process for Pastor Nadarkhani demonstrates the Iranian government’s total disregard for religious freedom, and further demonstrates Iran's continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens. The United States calls upon the Iranian authorities to immediately lift the sentence, release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion. The United States renews its calls for people of conscience and governments around the world to reach out to Iranian authorities and demand Pastor Nadarkhani's immediate release.”
The State Department has released a similar statement:
“The United States is deeply concerned by reports that a provincial court has renewed the execution order for Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Mr. Nadarkhani is facing a death sentence on charges of apostasy and has refused to recant his Christian faith. Such government persecution for simply following one’s faith is common in Iran, where followers of many religious traditions face harsh treatment and severe violations of their religious freedom. We have also witnessed a dramatic increase in the arrest of adherents to the Baha’i Faith recently, as well as an increase in repression of freedom of expression in all forms. We stand with religious and political leaders from around the world in condemning Youcef Nadarkhani’s conviction and call for his immediate release.”
Evangelist Franklin Graham is challenging Barack Obama to do more to help. Last night he told Fox News, "The president could call for a prayer meeting at the White House.”
© 2012 FaithIssues.com
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