By BosNewsLife Middle East Service with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been sentenced to death, faces new hearing.

TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– An Iranian court has asked the pastor of one of Iran’s largest house church movements to abandon his faith in Christ and return to Islam if he wants to avoid execution, a church official told BosNewsLife Sunday, September 25.

On “the first day” of his trial pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, whose first name is also spelled as Yousef, was “asked by the judge…to recant his faith in order to avoid execution,” said Firouz Khandjani, a council member of the Church of Iran movement.

However the pastor’s lawyer, human rights attorney Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, told the court Sunday, September 25, that “this request was against the law and the constitution,” Khandjani explained.

Nadarkhani was sentenced to death by hanging for being an “apostate” to Islam in November 2010. His appeal against that ruling was rejected on June 27, 2011.


The Supreme Court said “he can be executed” but added it would first ask a “re-examination” by the same lower court that already sentenced him to death.

“The local court was ordered by Branch 27 of the Supreme Court to examine specifically whether he was a practicing Muslim between the age of accountability, 15, until he became a Christian at age 19,” said Jason DeMars, director of advocacy group Present Truth Ministries, which also closely follows the case.

There was no immediate known reaction from Pastor Nadarkhani, who has been prevented from talking to reporters.

Yet, earlier this year he urged members of his home church and other Christians not to give up their faith in Christ. In written remarks, resembling letters written by jailed Apostle Paul from the Bible, Nadarkhani called upon believers to accept persecution “as a part of their spiritual course.”


The 34-year-old pastor, who is married with two children, was initially detained in the northwestern city of Rasht in October 2009, while trying to register his home church.

He has been held since in the prison of Lakan, just outside Rasht, where Christians claim he has been tortured.

Ahead of Sunday’s trial hearing, DeMars asked Christians “if you feel led [by] the Lord” to “fast and pray for brother Youcef”, BosNewsLife reported earlier.

DeMars said that “Though the situation looks very dark naturally speaking, our God is the one who made light to shine out of darkness and the one who specializes in doing things thought impossible.”


He urged believers to “Pray for wisdom for strength for Youcef to take his stand, for the attorney to have wisdom and courage to speak the truth.” He said it was also important to pray for “the hearts of the judges to be as clay in the hands of the Master Potter, our Lord Jesus Christ.”

His case has come to symbolize wider persecution, according to rights activists. Besides the pastor, several other Christians are detained across Iran as part of an effort by authorities to defend what they call “Islamic values” of the strict Islamic nation.

Despite the reported crackdown, there may be as many as 100,000 devoted Christians in Iran, church groups say, many of them former Muslims. (Follow BosNewsLife’s Twitter feed for the latest updates.)

Also Read:

BREAKING NEWS: Iran Pastor Refuses To ‘Abandon’ Christ; Execution Perhaps “Thursday”


  1. please guys what should we do to get bbc and al jazeera to report on this. international community should be mobilized to prevent him for being executed.

  2. Father God, strengthen and comfort our dear brother and his family. I cover Yousef and his family under the blood of Jesus and I pray that angels minister to you and keep guard over you, in Jesus Mighty Name, Amen!

  3. Lord Jesus give wisdom and strength for Youcef to take his stand, for his attorney to have wisdom and courage to speak the truth and we pray for the hearts of the judges to be as clay in the hands of the Master Potter.

  4. Praying for Brother Yousef, and his family concerning this terrible situation. Praying a strong hedge of spiritual protection around him. Praying for strength and G-d’s comfort to the persecuted church in Iran, praying for his captors, that they would feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and turn to the one True G-d, in Whom Nothing is impossible, and in Whom there is No darkness – a G-d who sets us free from the sting of death, and the power of sin. In the name of Yeshua, Amen.

  5. Praying for the Holy Spirit to give the rulers of Iran and the Supreme Court the wisdom of the ages. May god protect all the christians in prison in Iran and bring them to freedom and safety. Praying for God to intercede and protect the life of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, to show the world that He never leaves us or forsakes us.

  6. This is the real Church. This is the Christian each society needs. It is not by attending Bible studies, or going to theology schools and it is not by crying and dancing while getting emotional in this or that Church.

    This is middle-eastern Church. Looking forward to see this kind of faith more in middle east and also in West and specially in the US rather so called big preachers such as Ted Haggards or dirty priests or pastors here in West whom were nothing but shame. Yet, I see they go around and talk !!!!

    I am praying to see believers in the US that won’t shut up or would be scared of talk when TV and West propaganda insults the Christ or Christianity. Instead complain and resist with passion, love and wisdom.

    Middle eastern church always has given blood for Christ and its faith.
    and more


  7. Barodar azizam Yucef,
    Azadiyeh khod ra hefz konid, zira Massih ma ra rahayii bakhshid. Pas dar in azadi ostvar bashid va nagozarid bare` digar yoghe` bandegi beh gardan shoma gozashteh shavad. Ghalatian 5:1
    My dear brother you are not alone we stand behind you, most of all Jesus is standing next to you, lean on Him

  8. Its time now for Christian all over the world to unite and be in one in prayer. Support the call of J Secular of ACLJ and other movements to pressure the White House to help the release of Pastor Yousef.

  9. Our church heard about your situation and we prayed for you as a church board on Thursday before service. We also informed the congregation about your situation and prayed as an entire congregation for God to deliver you as He delivered Daniel from the lion’s den! God’s Blessings to you, Yucef.

  10. I am humbled by the situation with bro Youcef Nadarkhani in Irani. We continue to pray for his release. The Lord is able to stop the execution/death. Our heart felt love, support and prayers are with him. Like God was in the fiery furnace, He is with you. He will do it for you.

  11. im reminded of shadrach,meschach & abednego,who had gone thru the fiery furnace.Bro Youcef,our God will not let u get burned my brother,whatever the trial may be. Keep the faith & see the DELIVERANCE of the LORD.

  12. My prayers are with brother Yousef and his family. His stand is inspirational and his stand for his love and belive in Christ is so very humbling. So many of us leave GOD’s path for meaningless reasons and here this man is truley ready to give his life to GOD…..

  13. Yousef we are praying for you always and we pray that your family stands firm through in and out of it all regardless of what happens. May the Lord Jesus take you home when all this is done. We love you Yousef

  14. Yousef,
    I am praying that God will spare your life on earth; so that you may continue to serve Him, and please Him even more. I also pray for your family, that their hearts may be fixed, trusting in the LORD.

    Proverbs 21:1 (AV)
    1 ¶ The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

    Proverbs 16:7 (AV)
    7 ¶ When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

    Psalm 112:7 (AV)
    7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.

    Fear not my brother, only believe; trusting in the sure Word of God.

    In Christ,
    Kerry Scott Gorham

  15. Pst Yousef, be strong and be of good courage. You are assured of ultimate victory. This is the very faith you have courageously preached. He is watching over u. He will never leave nor forsake you. Thank you for being there for us.

  16. I will put him prayer even if evil leaders do their wish in life of brother yosuf it can not stop expansion of Christian faith in Iran. The good news will continue to go round the world. But I know that there is nothing like impossibility before God he change he did yesterday, today and he will still do again we shall not dashed out hope they can only touch flesh but not the soul.


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