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International Pressure Keeping Pastor Youcef Alive

Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his Wife Tina

The increasing international pressure on Iran to spare Pastor Youcef’s life and release him is having a tremendous impact. It has now been three weeks since Iran could have carried out the death sentence for Pastor Youcef, yet he is still alive, and his case has been sent to Iran’s Supreme Leader for determination.

As this recent article notes:

Iran's death sentence for Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's has not been carried out, and now there are complications developing that could mean good news for the faithful believer, according to reports from those with contacts inside the repressive nation. . . .

American Center for Law and Justice Executive Director Jordan Sekulow says difficulties have come up for the Iranian prosecution of the Christian because the 34-year-old pastor didn't fit the definition of an apostate according to Iranian law. . . .

“[The Iranian court] took the unprecedented move which we believe would not have happened without the international attention, they said, 'We're going to the ayatollah with this thing,'" Sekulow added.

As one Middle East annalist noted, “International pressure has helped significantly in Pastor Nadarkhani's case; in fact, it may be the only reason he's still alive. Iranian authorities may be stalling to make their decision so that the world loses patience and interest.”

Pastor Youcef’s attorney in Iran has confirmed to us that international pressure is having an effect on his case, and continues to urge the international community, the United Nations, and even the Pope to continue to pressure Iran and the Ayatollah for his release.

This pressure began with the voice of individual Americans – your voice – speaking out for Pastor Youcef. Then, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives spoke out, 89 Members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Clinton urging her involvement, the White House called for his release, and countless American and international leaders have taken action on Pastor Youcef’s behalf.

Nearly 200,000 Americans signed our petition to pressure Iran for Pastor Youcef’s release, and the ACLJ has been hard at work, implementing an aggressive strategy to save this pastor’s life. As this article explained:

Sekulow says that his office is working with the European affiliate of the ACLJ that is a U.N. Non-Governmental Organization and he says he's also been in contact with the ACLJ affiliate office in Moscow, hoping to get the Russian government to persuade the Iranians in this case.

Sekulow observes that the court documents prove that Nadarkhani has never been charged with anything except apostasy. He adds that the unique "spin" from the government is the product of the Iranians paying attention to the outside.

"Never before was he charged with anything other than apostasy or leaving the faith, so all of that spin from the Iran… That doesn't happen because of internal Iranian pressure or from the Christian community," Sekulow said.

"It happens because the world's taken notice. We have this unique opportunity actually because the ayatollah, say what you will about him on diplomatic matters, foreign policy matters and how he treats the people, he is himself more immune from the pressures of a judge from the religious community," Sekulow said.

You can read the entire article here.

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