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International Pressure Keeping Iranian Pastor Alive

ACLJ Contends That International Pressure Has Kept Nadarkhani Alive

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By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
October 25, 2011|8:40 pm

The court case of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has garnered international attention, with many political leaders and countries using their power in an attempt to convince Iran to release the Iranian pastor.

“The increasing international pressure on Iran to spare Pastor Youcef’s life and release him is having a tremendous impact,” contended Matthew Clark on the American Center for Law and Justice.

One Middle Eastern analyst told the ACLJ that international pressure “may be the only reason [Nadarkhani is] still alive.”

“Iranian authorities may be stalling to make their decision so that the world loses patience and interest,” he added.

Director of International Operations Jordan Sekulow contends that Iran has a history of stalling court cases until they lose interest.

“It is up to us to continue a lot of pressure now because we know from Iran’s history that they delay court cases to get them out of the media. They’re known for that,” Sekulow told The Christian Post.

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“Our real goal is to keep his case in the spotlight,” he added.

Countries including the United States, Britain and France have spoken out about the death sentence given to the Iranian pastor and have urged the courts to set him free.

Last week, 89 members of Congress sent a bi-partisan letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, requesting her involvement.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, and governors Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have all expressed their concern for the trial.

Mitt Romney described Nadarkhani’s verdict of execution as “an unacceptable outrage against human dignity.”

Rick Perry called upon the United Nations and U.S. President Barack Obama to “work toward securing the release of Pastor Nadarkhani.”

Last week, 200,000 Americans signed a petition urging Iran to free Pastor Nadarkhani.

The ACLJ is now attempting to persuade the Russian government to get involved by pressuring the Iranian government to free Nadarkhani.

Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor, was originally arrested for protesting in October 2009. His charge then changed to apostasy and attempting to evangelize Muslims, for which he was found guilty in the local Gilan province court. He appealed his case in December 2010 to Iran’s Supreme Court. The case was then passed back down to the lower Gilan province court, which in turn passed it to supreme leader Khamenei for review.

Nadarkhani's verdict now rests in the hands of Khamenei, who has ultimate authority in Iran's legal matters.

Sekulow assured CP that placing the case into the hands of Khamenei “is better for the pastor because the decision is not under the kind of pressure from clerics or military.”

“There’s no authority higher,” Sekulow added.

International pressure has pushed Iranian court to confirm that Nadarkhani is currently alive awaiting his verdict.

 

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