Ayatollah Khamenei
Ayatollah Khamenei (AP Images/STR)

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Youcef Nadarkhani, the Christian pastor sentenced to death in Iran, is feeling pressure from Iranian officials.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is reporting that Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei may be trying to entrap the pastor.

“Our contacts have notified us that agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of Iran, commonly referred to as Iran’s Secret Security, visited Youcef in jail and provided him with printed Islamic propaganda,” ACLJ’s Tiffany Barrans wrote in a blog post.

“This propaganda contained information as to why, according to Iran, Islam is the one true faith. The agents requested that Youcef read and reflect on the materials, instructing him that they would return to discuss the materials with him at a later date.”

The ACLJ isn’t sure whether the visit was an attempt to entrap Youcef into saying something against Islam so the government could punish him for blasphemy or if officials are working to give him a chance to renounce Jesus and join Islam. That said, the ACLJ is sure that the move comes in response to international pressure on the Iranian regime.

“With Youcef’s case before the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei,” Barrans wrote, “it is no surprise that security agents, who answer directly to the Supreme Leader, would try to either do away with the case or provide an alternative justification for continued punishment.”

Nadarkhani was sentenced to death in 2009 for apostasy. He lost his appeal last year and has maintained his Christian faith despite the threat of death. Nadarkhani’s attorney, Mohammad Dadkhah, told CNN earlier this month that Khamenei will personally decide the fate of Nadarkhani. Khamenei is an Islamic jurist and the final arbiter of questions of Shariah law.

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