Iranian pastor’s execution could come at any time

By February 23, 2012

Iran (MNN) — Sources
in Iran say an execution order for Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been

According to
Present Truth Ministries (closely connected with Nadarkhani), this is grim
news. Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs USA, confirms the
news.  "Apparently, that execution
order has not been delivered to his family or his
attorneys, but the report is that it has been signed. That means that at any
time, he could be executed."

the government will execute people without any prior notice to attorneys or
family. It's also unclear whether it has been approved by the Ayatollah
who is the head of the Judiciary Sadegh Larijani.

Nadarkhani was
born to a Muslim family and admits that he was introduced to the teachings of
Islam, but he claims he never accepted the faith. That was the basis of his appeal to the High
Court on the apostasy verdict.  

explains, "His reply to that is: 'Well no. I wasn't a practicing Muslim.' This execution order being signed says that the court has not approved that
logic. They are saying: 'Yes in fact, you were a Muslim. Because you're a Christian
now, you're an apostate, and you'll be executed for that apostasy.'"

Youcef has refused to recant his faith during the three years he's been
separated from his wife and two sons. His conviction and sentence has been delayed due to international
pressure, according to other reports from Present Truth Ministries. 

Meanwhile, on February 17, Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) introduced
a resolution denouncing Iran for its leaders' ruling of apostasy against Youcef
Nadarkhani and calling for his immediate release. So far,
it has the support of seven other members. Nearly 90 members of Congress
previously signed a letter supporting Nadarkhani.

When asked if
international pressure would be enough to intervene again, Nettleton responded,
"The most important thing we can do is to pray. There are petitions you
can sign. We have Pastor Youcef on They can also send e-mails
to Iranian authorities asking that he not be executed."

Given the
application of the apostasy law, one
would think it would have a severe "chilling effect" on evangelism. Quite the
opposite, says Nettleton. The Arab
Spring and Iran's Revolution played a big role in that. 

government oppression of the protestors shook many Muslims' faith. To them, the government is the mullah, and
the mullah is the government. That means,
Nettleton goes on to say, that "when there is disappointment with the
government or frustration with the government, it translates in people's minds
to disappointment and frustration with Islam."

People are looking
for an anchored Truth, "so there's hunger for the Gospel. There's an
openness for the Gospel. And the Church is growing at a rate that is really mind-boggling."   

Ask the Lord to uphold and sustain Youcef, his wife, and
their two children. Pray that this family may soon be reunited. Pray for
Youcef's legal team and all those in authority connected with this case.

Pray that the Body of Christ will continue to multiply and mature
despite persecution.

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