By Matthew Clark/www.aclj.org
The situation of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who remains on death row in Iran for his faith, is gaining increased international attention.
The Mexican Senate is the latest international body to take a stand for Pastor Youcef, stating that it “condemns the death sentence handed down to Yousef Nadarkhani for religious reasons."
In recent weeks and months, a number of nations and international bodies have joined American leaders in calling for Pastor Youcef's release. Britain was one of the first nations to speak out against the ongoing atrocity being committed against Pastor Youcef, its foreign secretary calling “on the Iranian authorities to overturn his sentence."
Canada and members of the Uruguayan Senate have also made statements calling for Pastor Youcef's release. In addition, the Foreign Affairs Council and the Council for the European Union have released statements condemning Pastor Youcef's conviction and execution sentence. The European Parliament also passed a resolution calling for Pastor Youcef's release.
We appreciate the willingness of the international community, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, to bring attention to Pastor Youcef's plight, and we urge international Muslim leaders (none of whom have spoken out) to call for Pastor Youcef's unconditional release.
Yet, as these and other nations and international organizations increase the pressure on Iran to release Pastor Youcef, Iran is renewing its efforts to persecute Christians.
The minster of intelligence of Iran recently called house churches a threat to youth in Iran and stated the regime was preparing to crack down on these churches. A similar crackdown occurred right around Christmas last year, and it appears that Iran is preparing more raids again this year.
This news is not only disturbing for Pastor Youcef, the pastor of a Christian house church who awaits final determination on his fate by Iran's supreme leader, but for hundreds of other Christian converts in Iran.
The ACLJ will continue to monitor this situation, work with the U.S. State Department, and directly assist Pastor Youcef's attorney in Iran.
Published Dec. 17, 2011 in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201A Erie St., Grove City.