Washington D.C. - Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02) issued the following statement in response to the sentencing of Iranian Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who faces execution as early as tomorrow for refusing to recant his faith:
"Perhaps it should not be surprising that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad--who stood before the United Nations General Assembly last week and denounced the United States and has called for the annihilation of both Israel and the United States--is now defying the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights and its provision to protect religious freedom.
"Nonetheless, I am still compelled to remind an ostensibly modernized government that it is shameful and cowardly to kill an innocent person for merely practicing his faith. The Iranian government would also do well to consider that this decision does nothing to advance the interests of Iran or the interests of the Iranian people. While Iran's leaders claim to uphold tolerance, the Iranian people deserve to know that their government is hypocritically disregarding one of the most fundamental human rights: the ability of the Iranian people to freely choose a faith of their choice.
"I appeal to whatever semblance of humanity may remain in the hearts of Iran's leaders and urge the Obama Administration to make it clear, through every channel possible, that such grievous human rights abuses will not stand."