February 24, 2012
The White House and the U.S. State Department have released statements calling for the release of imprisoned Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, whose execution orders have reportedly been issued, according to the American Center for Law and Justice. The White House said: "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. ... 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 State Department said: "Such government persecution for simply following one's faith is common in Iran. ... We stand with religious and political leaders from around the world in condemning Youcef Nadarkhani's conviction and call for his immediate release."