White House, State Department Call for Pastor Youcef’s Release
The White House and the U.S. State Department have just released statements calling for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s immediate release.
The White House states:
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 release reads:
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.
This confirms our belief, and those of our contacts in Iran, that the government of Iran has issued the execution order for Pastor Youcef - an execution that could be carried out at any time.
We greatly appreciate the White House’s and State Department's efforts on behalf of Pastor Youcef and join in urging other nations of the world to intervene with the Iranian regime on his behalf.
It is absolutely critical that we continue to place international pressure on Iran for Pastor Youcef’s immediate and unconditional release.
Please join the more than 100,000 who have signed on to our petition urging congress to pass H. Res. 556 supporting Pastor Youcef and calling for his immediate release. Also, please sign up to Tweet for Youcef, which is now reaching over 600,000 Twitter accounts in 85% of the world.