We received some news that Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill wrote a letter to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameini, requesting the pardon of brother Youcef Nadarkhani. The leader of External-Church Affairs from Moscow, Metropolitan Hilarion said, “We are aware that Nadarkhani’s life depends on the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who is to pass the final verdict.”
“Ayatollah Taskhiri [a leader from Iran] said in a reply, citing his sources, that the death sentence on the Iranian pastor had been overturned and assured Metropolitan Hilarion that after his return to Iran he would hand over the Russian Patriarch’s request for the pastor’s pardon to the office of the Iranian spiritual leader.”
Our sources in Iran have informed us that Youcef has been officially notified of a new trial for crimes against national security in September. We assume by implication that this means the charges of apostasy have been dropped since the new charges have been issued, but we have no confirmation of that.
At this point we need to keep Youcef’s case in the news. Please publicize this information. Youcef has not committed any crimes against Iran’s national security. He was the pastor of a network of house churches in Rasht and was not performing any political activities against the state. In fact, they pray for their country and its leaders.