Pressure Increases as Iranian Pastor Faces Death

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The Iranian regime is under increasing pressure to release the Christian pastor facing execution for refusing to recant his religious beliefs.

Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. is "deeply concerned" about Iran's human rights violations.

"We are particularly concerned by reports that Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is facing execution on charges of apostasy," she said in a statement.  "We continue to call for a government that respects the human rights and freedom of all those living in Iran."

Thursday, Press Secretary Jay Carney also condemned Iran for Nadarkhani's conviction and urged for his release.

"Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith which is a universal right for all people," Carney said.

"That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend and crosses all bounds of decency and Iran's own international obligations," he added.

Jordan Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, talks more aobut this case and when more news may be released, on CBN News Channel Morning News, Sept. 30.

CBN News has started an effort on Twitter to spread the word about Pastor Yousef's case.

  • Follow us @CBNNews, then retweet our post, "Who is Yousef Nadarkhani? A pastor, husband & father who may be killed in Iran for his faith. RT for religious freedom http://tinyurl.com/6gd5erm." 

Christian Solidarity Worldwide  is calling for urgent action:

  • Voice your concerns now to the Iranian Embassy here.
  • You can also call the Iranian liaison office in the U.S. State Department. The number is 202-647-6575.

Nadarkhani, 32, became a Christian when he was 19. He was convicted of apostasy in 2010 and sentenced to death.

An Iranian court has determined that Nadarkhani has Islamic ancestry and therefore must recant his faith in Jesus Christ.

When he was asked to "repent" by the judges, Nadarkhani boldy told them,"Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?"

"To the religion of your ancestors, Islam," the judges replied.

"I cannot," the pastor said.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Nadarkhani's death sentence had been overturned, after days of intense media scrutiny.

But the lawyer for Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani quickly denied those reports, saying the false statements were a deliberate attempt by the Iranian government to stifle the media.

"He believes this is a lie spread by the Iranian secret service, even to members of his own family, to stop the media from reporting on this case," Jordan Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, said.

The ACLJ is working closely with Nadarkhani's Iranian attorney on this case.

Jordan Sekulow says once the decision is made, Nadarkhani's execution could be carried out "without us knowing or being able to confirm it for weeks."  Watch more below.

Meanwhile, the 32-year old pastor's case has galvanized the Christian community around the world.

News of the developments in the case spread across social networking sites throughout the week, with many urging prayer for the pastor and his family.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide has also been urging Christians, religious leaders, and governments to contact the Iranian embassy in the United Kingdom. 

"Right now the focus should be. for people to get this story out, to share it," Sekulow told CBN News. 

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