| BRASILIA – Brazil’s executive branch said on Wednesday that they will raise the issue of Youssef Nadarkhani with Iran. Chief of Staff to the president of the republic, Gleisi Hoffman announced that Brazil will contact Iran to inquire as to the reasons that led to evangelical preacher Youssef Nadarkhani being imprisoned.
”We have already made contact with our ambassador in Iran, the Foreign Ministry has also made contact to find out actually what the reason is for his imprisonment and to carry our positions on human rights,” the minister said this morning after attending an event at the presidential palace.
The Iranian Nadarkhani, 33, converted from Islam to Christianity at age 19 and three years later became an evangelical pastor, founding a small Christian community in the city of Rasht, northwest of Tehran. Nadarkhani was arrested, accused of abandoning the Islamic faith, and received the maximum sentence: death by hanging.
Hoffman will meet this afternoon with the evangelical congressional caucus, which is calling for government intervention in the case. The minister will receive the congressmen and pastor Marco Feliciano at the presidential palace.
The Chief of Staff said the Foreign Minister, Antonio Patriota, will prepare a detailed report on the case. She also said that Brazil “has no claim to be an intermediary” between the pastor and Iran and said that the Presidential Palace was approached by members of the evangelical community, calling for government action in the case.
”We were approached by a group of people, parliamentarians of the evangelical community, wanting to know what was happening and also how we could help and show solidarity, to express the position of Brazil in relation to this,” she said.
Brazil and Iran, under former president Lula had very warm and cordial relations with Lula visiting Iran and Ahmadinejad visiting Brazil. However, during the Iranian leader’s visit to Latin America last month, Brazil was left off the controversial Iranian leader’s itinerary, leading some – in both Brazil and Iran – to speculate on a deterioration of relations under President Dilma Rousseff
Source(s) for this article: G1 Brasil