There is a major development today in the fight to put pressure on Iran for Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s release. Congressmen Joe Pitts (PA-16) and Heath Shuler (NC-11) are leading a bipartisan effort to save Pastor Youcef. They are sending a letter to Secretary of State Clinton calling on her to “use all the powers at your disposal” for “swift engagement with the international community to advocate for his release.”
This letter is still gaining signatures from Members of Congress. Currently, thirty-nine Members of Congress, including thirteen Democrats, have signed on to this letter, and that number continues to grow by the hour. Of critical importance, one of the early signatories for this letter is Congressman Keith Ellison (MN-5) – the first Muslim elected to Congress.
An early draft of the letter provided to the ACLJ states:
We implore you to raise your voice at this critical juncture on behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani. We must not stand by while the Iranian Regime executes a man who has committed no crime.
You will recall that while the Secretary of State did express concern over Iran's treatment of its people, she did not explicitly state that she was in favor of freedom for Pastor Youcef.
Here is an email I just received from the ACLJ...
We are at a critical juncture in the fight to save Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s life. We expect the Iranian court to release its written verdict regarding his execution sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity as early as Monday.It is absolutely critical that we continue to speak loudly and actively call on the Iranian regime to spare Pastor Youcef’s life and release him. We need your voice today.
Please sign our petition urging Secretary of State Clinton to call for Pastor Youcef’s immediate release. It is critical that our top diplomat take a stand for this innocent man, whose only “crime” is that he is a Christian.
When asked to recant his faith in Christ – under the threat of death – Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani replied, “I cannot.”
Together we can help save his life through our prayers, our voices, and by pressing our diplomatic leaders to call on Iran to spare his life.
If you have not done so already, please sign our petition today, as Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s life literally hangs in the balance. We are close to reaching the critical threshold of over 100,000 online signatures.....
Your immediate action is critical, as increased pressure from the international community could sway the judges to release him.
That is why we have taken aggressive action, working with Pastor Youcef’s attorney in Iran, Members of Congress, and the international media. We have just sent a letter to the United Nations (U.N.) High Commissioner for Human Rights on Pastor Nadarkhani’s behalf, stating:
“Before another innocent man loses his life, we urge you to take a stand against Iran’s violation of human rights. We urge you to call upon the Iranian government and demand the immediate and unconditional release of Pastor Youcef.”
Will you join us in taking a stand for Pastor Youcef as he continues to stand for his faith in the face of death? Please sign this critical petition today, before it is too late.
ACLJ Chief Counsel
P.S. Your actions are having a great impact. A week ago, mainstream media outlets were ignoring Pastor Nadarkahani’s tragic story. Today, Fox News, CNN, the Washington Post, The Jerusalem Post, and numerous others have reported on his story. Dozens of political leaders have now added their voices as a result of your efforts, but we still need Secretary of State Clinton to call for his immediate release. Please keep up the pressure by signing our petition today.