The fate of Iranian "apostate" pastor Youcef Nadarkani still hangs by a thread. In contrast to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's rather tepid statement that the "US stands with the international community" in calling "for a government that respects the human rights and freedom of all those living in Iran," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini offered these morally clear, powerful words about the applicable Western standards of freedom and justice:
I am deeply disturbed by the dramatic case of the evangelical pastor Nadarkhani, whose life is at risk in Iran for the sole reason that he claimed the right to profess the faith in which he believes...[T]he death sentence against Nadarkhani is a disgrace, the negation of the very idea of law. Freedom of religion is a fundamental and unbreakable human right and Italy intends to continue with conviction with its action in all relevant fora, in the context of the committed effort being taken forwards by the European Union, to ensure that it is respected on a global scale. The Iranian authorities would stain their hands with an atrocious crime if the sentence were carried out. It would force us to reach the bitter conclusion that religious freedom is being trodden underfoot in a country whose religion has shaped its very identity and its institutional framework.
Foreign Minister Frattini concluded:
We therefore expect Nadarkhani to be released immediately and without conditions.
Hope springs eternal that Sec. Clinton will summon Frattini's muse and re-issue an equally upright and impassioned appeal for Pastor Nadarkhani's immediate and unconditional release!