Graham: Obama Should Do More for Iranian Pastor

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International worry and criticism toward Iran is growing after news that an execution order has been signed against a Christian pastor being detained since 2009 by the Islamic regime.

The U.S. State Department said Thursday that it is "deeply concerned" about Iran's death sentence against Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani because he refuses to recant his faith.

Still, evangelist Franklin Graham says President Barack Obama should do more to help.

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 president could call for a prayer meeting at the White House. He could make a statement," Graham said Thursday night on Fox News' "On the Record."

"We apologized to the Afghans because a Koran was mistakenly burned and this Koran had been used to smuggle messages out of Bagram prison," he continued.  "And he apologizes to the Afghans after an Afghan soldier killed two Americans."

"But why doesn't he speak out?" Graham asked.  "He could use the power of the White House to call pastors to gather ... to have a prayer meeting for this guy. But he hasn't done it."

The American Center for Law and Justice has helped spearhead worldwide efforts to free Nadarkhani.

ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow warned that the situation is now "dire" because Iranian officials have been given the okay to hang the young pastor, husband and father of two, any day now.

Thursday, Sekulow told CBN News he can't confirm that Nadarkhani is still alive.

Nadarkhani's Fight

Nadarkhani, 34, was born in northern Iran to Muslim parents, but decided to become a Christian at age 19, according to the human rights group Amnesty International.

When he was arrested in 2009, Nadarkhani was leading one of the most popular house churches in the country.

"Such government persecution for simply following one's faith is common in Iran, where followers of many religious traditions face harsh treatment and severe violations of their religious freedom," State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

"We stand with religious and political leaders from around the world in condemning Youcef Nadarkhani's conviction and call for his immediate release," he added.

The White House also issued a statement Thursday condemning Iran's persecution of the pastor and urged others to demand his release.

Watch all of Jordan Sekulow's comments to CBN News below.

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