Skip to main content

Iran Feels Pressure over Nadarkhani

Paul Marshall

There are no new reports on the immediate fate of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, condemned to death in Iran because he became a Christian. However, the Iranian regime is clearly feeling the pressure of international calls for his release and is now trying to deny that he has been sentenced to death. It also is trying to muddy the water by claiming that there are hitherto unknown (and false) accusations against him.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that “the Iranian Embassy in London released a statement claiming that fears of a death sentence were ‘unsubstantiated.’” Also, despite the fact that the court records state he was found guilty of apostasy, the regime is also trying to spread false reports that he was “found guilty of rape and being [a] Zionist ‘working against the Islamic Order.’”

CSW also reports that, on September 14, eleven Iranian Christians who had previously fled Iran received emailed threats from a group calling itself “The Unknown Soldiers of the Hidden Imam” and demanding that they forsake their Christian faith or face extra-judicial execution. The “unknown soldiers” are believed to have links with the Iranian security services. The email concludes by demanding that the Christians take “the opportunity to repent and ask forgiveness from the presence of the Hidden Imam and the Great Allah” or “according to the Fatwa given by Mehdi the Hidden Imam, they must be killed.”

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that, on Sept. 29, 2011, 20 Baha’is were arrested in Esfahan and taken to an unknown location. Seven were released on October 1, but the rest are still being held.

HRANA also reports that the regime, following its practice of arresting the lawyers who defend those it has arrested, has also extended the detention order of Abdolfattah Soltani, a lawyer for imprisoned Baha’is.

The Iranian regime is continuing its vicious persecution of religious minorities, but despite its blustery protestations of Islamic purity, it is still unwilling to admit and defend what it does.

The regime is clearly feeling and trying to counter international opprobrium and pressure. Now is the time to increase this pressure — first for Nadarkhani’s release, and second for the other brave Iranians struggling for freedom in Iran.

Related Articles

Congressional Testimony: Nuclear Negotiations with Iran - What Do America's Allies Think?

Michael Doran

If the administration does not take steps immediately to reconstitute the leverage that it held over Iran just a year ago, then we can be assured that...

View PDF

Nina Shea on The Drew Mariani Show

Nina Shea

Nina Shea discusses Asia Bibi and religious persecution on the Drew Mariani Show...

Watch Now

Here's How the World Turned Against Israel

Lee Smith

Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies and a contribut...

Continue Reading