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SPRINGFIELD, Missouri-In a sudden turn of events Saturday, the Iranian Court withdrew its verdict of guilty for apostasy and accompanying death sentence, and pronounced Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani guilty of evangelism and sentenced him to three years in prison. Having been imprisoned for one month short of three years, Nadarkhani¹s sentence was determined fulfilled in lieu of a bail payment.
He is now reunited with his wife and two sons. News of Nadarkhani's release, confirmed by AG World Missions with its contacts overseas, is cause for rejoicing, as Nadarkhani had faced eminent execution for months.
AG General Superintendent George O. Wood, who had personally written Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Islamic Republic Leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei requesting the release of Nadarkhani and several other Christians being held by the Iranian government, expressed his pleasure. "The release of Pastor Nadarkhani is an incredible answer to a multitude of prayers from around the world," Wood says. "I believe that God used, in part, the continued worldwide media pressure and exposure of this wrongful imprisonment to influence the Iranian court's decision.
Praise God for His faithfulness!" However, Wood expresses his concern for Nadarkhani as well as for other Christians still held captive in Iranian prisons. "Although Pastor Nadarkhani has been released from prison, that does not mean his safety is guaranteed," Wood says. "We need to continue to pray that God provides strength and protection for him and his family. We also must not forget there are at least 16 more pastors and layworkers who remain prisoners in Iran who surely covet our continued prayers."
Greg Mundis, executive director of AG World Missions, agrees. "We are receiving reports more frequently of believers who are being persecuted in many countries of the world," he says. "This recent event is a definite reminder of our responsibility to pray for our brothers and sisters and advocate on their behalf." --
Courtesy of AG News