Iranian officials say that the execution of the Iranian pastor who has refused to recant his faith in Christ is not imminent. But now that they are accusing him of other heinous crimes–ones never mentioned in his actual trial and that are not even consistent from spokesman to spokesman–makes me think that his life is still in serious jeopardy:
It appears that Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani will avoid the hangman in Iran for the time being.
Nadarkhani, once the leader of a 400-person congregation in Rasht, was previously convicted of apostasy — the crime of abandoning Islam and converting to Christianity — but Iran now claims that the death penalty reports that circulated around the world last week were unsubstantiated.
“Youssef Nadar-Khani [sic] has been charged with a crime and is in a prison based on an arrest warrant issued against him,” Gilan Province Judiciary Chief Mohammad-Javad Heshmati said on Wednesday, according to Iran state news agency Press TV.
“There has been no execution order. No conviction at all has been issued yet and it is up to the court to finally decide the verdict after studying his case,” he added.
Since news of Nadarkhani’s looming execution spread, Iran has been loudly decrying the pastor as “a convicted rapist and extortionist,” and the Fars News Agency said over the weekend that Nadarkhani was to be executed for Zionism and threats to national security.