Breaking news reports out of Iran provide that the state court of Gilan, which recently demanded that Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani recant his faith or face execution, has delayed its written decision. As we predicted last week, the judges have sent the case to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. According to Youcef’s lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, “the court has decided to ask the opinion of Mr. (Ali) Khamenei.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is an Islamic jurist and the final arbiter of questions of Sharia law. In Iran, he is seen as a guardian protecting Iran.
The step to involve the most powerful leader in Iran demonstrates that Iran is feeling the pressure. Involving the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in a case before a regional court is unusual. We can be certain if the lies spread by Iran were true – that Youcef was instead convicted of rape, extortion, and Zionism – the court would not seek the advice of the Supreme Ayatollah.
The readers of this blog have played a crucial role in raising international awareness of this unjust ruling. Now that Iran’s Supreme Leader will be considering the case, it is imperative that our top diplomat, Secretary of State Clinton, call for Pastor Youcef’s unconditional release. Continue to keep the pressure on Iran, share this story, call your Member of Congress, and join the over 125,000 who have signed our petition. Let’s do everything we can to see that Pastor Youcef is freed.