Washington (CNSNews.com) – The White House called on Iran Thursday to release a Christian pastor facing possible execution after refusing to renounce his faith. Christian organizations, human rights groups and governments fear that Youcef Nadarkhani may hanged in a matter of days.
“The United States condemns the conviction of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday, reading a prepared statement. “Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people.”
“That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency, and breaches Iran’s own international obligations,” Carney continued.
“A decision to impose the death penalty would further demonstrate the Iranian authorities’ utter disregard for religious freedom, and highlight Iran’s continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens. We call upon the Iranian authorities to release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion.”