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Iran’s rulers have spent over three decades terrorizing their neighbors, the entire world, and even their own people. Whether it was the violent crackdown following illegitimate elections in 2009 or the daily repression that has become routine, the Iranian people deserve America’s support.

I am deeply distressed by news accounts regarding Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who is facing imminent execution for apostasy (abandoning Islam) and failing to recant his Christian faith. Pastor Nadarkhani is 34 years old, has a wife and two young children, and is the pastor of an evangelical church in Iran.

Equally troubling are the facts that his wife was imprisoned to force him to recant, and his lawyer has been sentenced to prison and banned from practicing or teaching law. This is an unjust violation of the religious freedom that is a universal right of every human being.

According to international legal experts, the death penalty is not even codified in the Iranian Penal Code. Yet the Iranian courts claim that the writings of Islamic scholars and the “fatwas” of the Ayatollahs take precedence over the Iranian Constitution or law. Under Sharia law, the pastor can be executed after refusing three times to recant his Christian faith.

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