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Condemning Iran for Its Persecution of Youcef Nadarkhani

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding and my friends from Pennsylvania and Minnesota for sponsoring this bill.

Tonight, we stand united and strong for the release of Pastor Youcef. Although the legal case for his release is overwhelming, as Mr. Pitts has outlined, we do not rely on the law in our plea. Though our political convictions shared among everyone on both sides of the aisle I believe here are deep, our appeal is not based on politics. Instead, our appeal is based on the ineffable human quality of the loving bond between a parent and his children.

Whether one worships in a mosque, a temple, a church, a synagogue, or some other forum not known to us, whether one chooses not to worship at all, whether one lives on any of the continents of the world, practices any of the political ideologies of the world, is there not a common bond among those who feel the overwhelming love when they first hold their daughter or their son?

Is there not a common bond among those who feel the anxiety of worrying whether a sick child will be healed?

Is there not a common bond of the immense pride that a mother or a father feels when their children achieve some hard-fought goal?

Is there not a common bond of the empty and hurtful feeling that people know that someday they will have to depart from the children they love so dearly?

That day is coming all too soon for Pastor Youcef if those who are mothers and fathers, who are his captors, do not consider that ineffable human bond.

This is a man who tonight sits in prison awaiting execution because he loved his children enough to insist that they be free to worship as he and his family thought they ought to worship. This is labeled as ``apostasy.'' The act of his arrest and impending execution is a monstrous act of inhumanity.

We do not appeal to the law, though it is on our side. We do not deal from political consensus, although I believe it exists in and out of this country. Our appeal is based on the simple, ineffable quality that parents have an innate right to love their children. This man has been deprived of this right. That deprivation should not exist for another hour, another day, another moment.

We will stand strong and united in calling for the humane release of Pastor Youcef, and we pray tonight that that wish will be granted by his captors, who must understand that they have that same ineffable love.


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