Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry encouraged President Obama to secure the release of Pastor Youssef Nadarkhani – the pastor facing the threat of execution in Iran for practicing his Christian faith – and criticized the administration’s toothless approach to Iranian malfeasance Monday.
Noting that the freedom to worship is a human right, and that the charges against Nadarkhani are an “affront” to civilized people, Perry pressed President Obama to bring about Nadarkhani’s release.
“We can only hope that President Obama, along with the United Nations, will work toward securing the release of Pastor Nadarkhani. Becoming a martyr for religious freedom should not be the only path out of Iran,” Perry said in a press release. “President Obama has insisted that Iran’s leadership was about to unclench its fist so it could hold our hand. But Iran only unclenches its fists to strangle freedom and the dissidents who dare to practice it.”
Perry hammered the administration’s handling of the 2009 Iranian protests, charging that the lack of an American voice of support created a perception of “indifference” to the Iranian regime.
“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,” he 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 Obama administration has condemned the conviction and possible execution of Nadarkhani, however, according to Perry, they must push for his release.
“I encourage the American people to contact their U.S. Senators and express their support for Pastor Nadarkhani, as well as their desire for the Obama Administration to work to secure his release.”