Texas Gov. Rick Perry is taking a hard stance against Iran’s plans to execute Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for refusing to recant his faith. The Republican presidential candidate called it unacceptable.
“There is no shade of gray or room for equivocation here: Freedom to worship is a basic human right, and the charges against Pastor Nadarkhani are an affront to the essential principles of the civilized world,” he said. “Becoming a martyr for religious freedom should not be the only path out of Iran.”
Perry also took the occasion to point to the Obama Administration’s stance on Iran, noting the president’s insistence that Iran’s leadership was about to unclench its fist so it could hold our hand. Perry argued that Iran only unclenches its fists to strangle freedom and the dissidents who dare to practice it.
“This administration’s silence during the ‘Green Revolution,’ when Iranian dissidents took to the streets, stands out as one of its greatest failures. That silence was interpreted by government authorities as indifference, and a brutal crackdown followed,” Perry said. “Now, a regime responsible for complicating our efforts in Iraq, that has pledged to destroy Israel, that pursues nuclear weapons, and that turns its military against its own people, is once again reminding the world of its intolerance for any who do not adhere to its extremist, repressive ideology.
The White House issued a statement last week condemning Nadarkhani’s conviction. The White House press secretary said a decision to impose the death penalty would further demonstrate Iranian authorities’ utter disregard for religious freedom, and highlight Iran's continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens.
“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,” the statement said. “We call upon the Iranian authorities to release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion.”