Last Friday’s standing-room only hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was among the most dramatic I’ve witnessed. There was outrage – outrage not just from me as I declared the State Department “AWOL” in our quest to free an American Pastor, Saeed Abedini — a U.S. citizen — captured by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard […]
One of the most powerful tools we can use in dealing with Iran is publicity. At a time when Iran is flexing its political and military muscle around the globe, we know that they are hoping to keep the plight of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani quiet.
Iran would prefer to act in private – without the world watching – moving forward to punish this young father of two for his Christian beliefs.
Through our sources in Iran, we have been told that an execution warrant may have been issued for his death. And, we have confirmation that Pastor Youcef is still alive.
As our work continues in this country and abroad on securing the release of Pastor Youcef, we also know that when it comes to keeping Pastor Youcef alive, the more media coverage, the better.
I am pleased to report that in the past 24 hours, we have assisted in telling Pastor Youcef’s story – and the grave danger he now faces – to numerous media outlets around the world including: FoxNews.com, MSNBC.com, the International Business Times with its global reach, and one of the most influential and well-read papers in the United Kingdom. In the Middle East, the Jerusalem Post has picked up the story. We’ve also been able to share this important story with our friends in the Christian media on-air in television interviews and in print online, some as far away as Australia. We’re even doing an interview with one of Brazil’s top news programs, which reaches more than 30-million people a day.
We also know that this is the time to keep the pressure on Iran. Nearly 100,000 Americans have signed on to our petition in just a matter of days urging members of Congress to approve a resolution condemning Iran and demanding the immediate release of Pastor Youcef.
And, we are spreading the word in a very big way through social media. Our Twitter campaign is exploding. We are reaching nearly one-half million Twitter accounts daily, with nearly 2,000 people allowing us to tweet through their account. We’re reaching 184 counties and territories around the world.
All of this is happening as more pressure is being applied to Iran from Washington. The White House Press Secretary issued an important statement today condemning Iran and calling for the immediate release of Pastor Youcef. The statement, posted here, condemns “in the strongest possible terms” Iran’s latest action which is “yet another shocking breach of Iran’s international obligations, its own constitution, and stated religious values.” The statement is clear: “The United States stands in solidarity with Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and all those who seek to practice their religion without fear of persecution – a fundamental and universal human right.” The State Department also issued a strong statement, posted here, expressing its deep concern about Iran’s desire to put Pastor Youcef to death. The statement concludes: “We stand with religious and political leaders from around the world in condemning Youcef Nadarkhani’s conviction and call for his immediate release.”
We are doing all that we can to keep attention – and pressure – on Iran. We continue to ask for your prayers. This is a critical time for Pastor Youcef and his family.