home
RSS
Lawyer: Iranian Supreme Leader to weigh in on pastor’s execution
October 10th, 2011
11:35 AM ET

Lawyer: Iranian Supreme Leader to weigh in on pastor’s execution

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) –-  The possible hanging of an Iranian pastor, who may face execution for refusing to recant his Christian beliefs, reached the highest levels of the Iranian government over the weekend with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei being asked for his opinion on the possible death sentence.

Mohammad Dadkhah, attorney for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, told CNN that Nadarkhani was still alive and that the court has asked the highest religious leader in Iran for his input. Though Khamenei has the ultimate authority in Iranian affairs, the move is unusual for a case that was supposed to be decided Monday.

Nadarkhani, the leader of a network of house churches in Iran, was first convicted of apostasy in November 2010, a charge he subsequently appealed all the way to the Iranian Supreme Court. In an appeals trial last month at a lower court in Gilan province, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs.

After the trial, however, reports by the semi-official Fars News Agency on September 30 indicated that the charges against Nadarkhani have since changed and the pastor is now charged with rape and extortion. "This issue has nothing to do with his abandoning his religion," reported Fars.

"He is a Zionist and has committed security-related crimes," Gholomali Rezvanii said in the Fars News report. Renvanii is the deputy governor of Gilan province, where Nadarkhani was tried and convicted.

In a 2010 Iranian Supreme Court brief obtained by CNN, the charge of apostasy is the only charge listed.

"He [Nadarkhani] has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim," states the brief.

"During many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, he has been sentenced to execution by hanging according to article 8 of Tahrir – olvasileh."

The case has drawn international attention, with governments from around the world, including the United States, Britain and France, issuing statements on the fate of the pastor.

Nadarkhani "has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for people," a White House spokesman said in a statement. "That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency and breaches Iran's own international obligations."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Interfaith issues • Iran

soundoff (955 Responses)
  1. Joe R.

    The reality is that there are many other Christians in Iran and other parts of the world that have or will lose their lives for their faith. I'm glad this pastor has received the attention of the world, however there are many others who also need prayers. From what I understand their prayer requests are usually for strength to endure the persecution too. They are the true martyrs – not those who kill others through their own death.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • cccc

      Instead of sitting and praying, why not actually do something about it?

      October 11, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  2. Onecv

    Hello, all religion fall into one of of the following categories of vilolence: WAS, IS, WILL BE. Look it up... Confucionism, Buddhism, Hiduism, Islamic, Christianity (crusades any one?), etc...
    I am a catholic, but I would be lying to say it is not violent. It has always been and it will continue to be. Ask the natives americans, the african saves, and the Arabs and Muslims.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..Religions/Groups involved*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Pagans)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      October 11, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:-----------–

      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..Religions/Groups involved*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Pagans)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      October 11, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Mennoknight

      Reality,
      That was the best post I have read in years. I am going to plagiarize you for years to come. Thanks.
      From a Canadian Mennonite Pastor

      October 11, 2011 at 12:45 am |
  3. Ronald Raygun

    save this man because he believes in a jewish zombie that will let him live forever if he telepathically communicates with him ,symbolically eats his flesh to forgive him of an evil force in all of mankind caused by a rib woman that was tricked into eating the forbidden fruit by a snake

    October 10, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • G. C.

      Lmao!!!

      October 10, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  4. Reality

    Putting the final touches to this blog. The moderators will now have to find new jobs.

    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • cccc

      LIKE

      October 10, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Mennoknight

      It is a proven fact that Jesus' disciples existed and had an enormous impact on the world.
      By their own hand written stories they were cowards and fools before Easter.
      They were transformed after Easter into fearless men and women who never recanted of what they saw with their own eyes.
      The physical evidence for the Kingdom of Israel from the time of King David grows daily (National Geographic Dec 2010).
      Stop using Bill Mayer as you source for truth. He is a comedian. He is not a scholar. Read beyond your own preconceived notions.

      October 11, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  5. Cyrus

    YOU'RE NOT F***ING GOD. YOU DON'T CHOOSE OTHER PEOPLE'S RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OR ANY BELIEFS FOR THAT MATTER THAT THEY CHOOSE TO HAVE. God damn it, can somebody annihilate these jokers who're embarrassing all the persians around the globe.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Michelle

      Are you really that sick that you would put the F word in front of Our Lord's name? No matter what you believe, decency would be honerable! Please get some help as only the so called "followers" can be the most dangerous. This man certainly deserves a "fair" trial and of course that is not possible in Iran. God Bless him and I thank him for his courage and faith!

      October 11, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • cccc

      I prefer putting the f word in front of ur lords name.

      October 11, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  6. Emelia

    I can think up these parallels between Dionysus and Jesus/God right off the top of my head:
    Turning water into wine
    Resurrection/rebirth
    Majority of the followers are female
    Denied acceptance as a god/son of god
    The concept that if you believe in them, you'll recieve everything (a "Heaven on Earth" scenario)
    ...Shall I continue? =D And by the way, Dionysus came a good few hundred (or was it thousand?) years before Christianity (though by the time Christianity surfaced, he was called Bacchus).

    October 10, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Mennoknight

      There is a pretty big difference that you are missing, the disciples of Jesus are proven to have existed through hundreds non-Christian writings. Jesus was a real historical man in a real historical period with real historical leaders..
      Dionysus, Horus, and all the others that you think you know about are mythologies. They were written in mythological language. The readers of these myths did not believe them to be real events. When the Romans and Greeks wrote mythology they wrote in a mythological style. We do the same today. Star Wars starts out with "In a Galaxy far far away..."
      When they wrote history, like the Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar they wrote much more like modern historians do today.
      Josephus wrote this way too.
      Luke, a Roman Historian and a trained doctor writes the same way.
      Stop using Bill Mayer as your historian. He is a comedian.

      October 11, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • cccc

      Religion is one big myth used by people to not feel so lonely in a vast empty universe. Plus, people like fell secure and superior in their own indoctrinated beliefs.

      October 11, 2011 at 12:26 am |
  7. Rocky

    The Iranian government are pure dogs. They are living proof that they operate a Nazi state and must be abolished. If Youcef Nadarkhani were to be executed simply for his refusal to renounce Christ as his savior he would become a martyr and therefore a saint in the Christian Church. The world must isolate Iran and destroy their evil regime...and soon.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  8. Mennoknight

    Let him come to Canada. I and my church will sponsor him.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Carter

      Not if we take him first into our church 🙂

      October 11, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Mennoknight

      Your on my friend! 🙂

      October 11, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  9. Mkat2

    Islam.....the 'peaceful religion'! Did anyone see the Gov. vehicles running over people AGAIN in Egypt?! Islamists vs. Coptic Christians. So much for 'Democracy........what a repulsive people!

    October 10, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  10. gotmelooknup

    Folk kill me talking about "it's God's will...it's the will of God"...who made YOU the interpreter of God's Will? The God of Christianity is BELIEVED to be SOVEREIGN...He does what He wants to do with whom He wants to do it WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW! we have no say so in what God's Will is or is not...Pastor will be BLESSED for BELIEVING WHO GOD IS IN HIS LIFE...WHAT ABOUT YOU? Sounds like a lot of folk commenting will be part of the..."I NEVER KNEW YOU" club! PEACE...

    October 10, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  11. Henry

    Can I take his place?

    October 10, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • cccc

      Don't waste more brainpower on worthless religion.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  12. sofra

    To Iranian Authorities: Believing in Jesus Christ does not make me less Turkish

    Let this brother to practice his faith in freedom !!!

    October 10, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  13. cccc

    Religion is stupid.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • dd

      you are stupid

      October 10, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Carter

      religion isn't stupid, you're the one that is stupid criticizing with a narrow, one-sided point of view.

      October 11, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • cccc

      Both of you prove my point.

      October 11, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  14. Joe Fattal

    A country like Iran either you have to go by its laws or leave the country. Very simple.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  15. JJ

    Once again people will be killed because of "religion".....

    October 10, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  16. ABA212

    Go ahead an execute him. Nothing like a good martyr to get the Christians to start another Crusade; except this time, it'll be guns and bombs (possibly nuclear; ask russia where all it's nukes are) Intolerance begets intolerance and all of us SANE people will watch on TV and just laugh while you idiots kill yourselves.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • malibu123

      You seem like a normal, well-adjusted, loving human being. Thanks for sharing.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  17. stupid americans

    america should focus on its local affairs and make its own protests more visible in the news. arghh...everytime i see an american i just puke..they are just so stupid and ugly...goshhhh ...

    October 10, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • American

      We are stupid., we help so many other ungrateful people. Our stupid government keeps reaching out to help other countries who would rather us not be there. But thats the difference with us, We have compassion,unlike your third world country that puts guns in the hands of children and instruct them to kill infidels. We put FOOT baths in our colleges to bend to your religion, But they hang those that don't conform to theirs. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his family are welcome in the U.S.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  18. Catherine

    Wow..just a few weeks ago my church had us write letters to Christians in jail. I picked Youcef's paper and wrote him a letter directly. I told him that I was praying for him and his family (he has a wife and children) and that he would be released/spared. I will continue to pray for this until it happens. I will also pray for the men overseeing this case. My hope is that they will see that Youcef is a good man and has not done them any wrong or harm.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • BK

      Fanatics of any religion rarely care if someone is a 'good man' unfortunately, but I hope it works out for him.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
  19. Jbm66

    This Iranian regime is probably the most disgusting in the world. It is a disgrace that many countries in this world give this pig of an Ayatollah any legitimacy.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Hairy Palm Sunday

      Oh, there are still oodles of regimes that vie for the ti=tle of worst on earth.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
  20. NYC gal

    Ugh! These people are so disgusting! I hope and pray that this innocent man is released ASAP...spread the word people!

    October 10, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.