House Condemns Iran for Pastor's Death Sentence

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Lawmakers in the House have passed a resolution condemning Iran for the persecution of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.

Rep. Louis Capps, D-Calif., was the only representative to vote against the resolution.

The Iranian Christian leader has been imprisoned since 2009 on charges of apostasy, and now faces death by hanging because he refuses to recant his faith.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the resolution to draw attention to Nadarkhani's case and pressure Iran to release him.

The measure was introduced by GOP Rep. Joe Pitts, an evangelical Christian, and Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim. So far, 61 members of Congress have signed the resolution.

The American Center for Law and Justice has started an online petition urging lawmakers to act on Nadarkhani's behalf. More than 170,000 people have signed.

"In just one week, your voice moved Congress to action," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said.

Sign the online petition urging more pressure on Iran to release Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and dismiss his death sentence

The ACLJ has also started a Twitter campaign to spread the word about Nadarkani's case. @CBNNews has joined the effort. Learn how you can "Tweet for Youcef" here.

The increased media coverage of Nadarkhani's plight is starting to put Iran on edge.

Now, the Islamic regime is releasing conflicting reports on why the pastor is still being held. One report by Iran's Press TV even claims an execution order was never issued against Nadarkhani.

"Iran's Supreme Court has not yet handed down its final verdict ... in order to allow authorities to further investigate the file and reach the best decision," the Feb. 24 report read.

Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ's executive director, said this is Iran's usual way of "backtracking."

The ACLJ warned Feb. 21 that the execution order had in fact been signed and Nadarkhani could be killed any day.

As of Tuesday, the group could confirm that Nadarkhani is still alive.

Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 while protesting Islamic lessons being taught at his sons' school. At the time, he was leading one of Iran's most popular house churches.

Since being imprisoned, authorities have pressured Nadarkhani to say he's a Muslim or face death. Each time, the pastor has refused to deny his Christian faith.

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