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U.S. Says Religious Situation In Iran Still 'Grave' Despite Release of Pastor

Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani meets his family upon being released from prison on September 8.
The United States has welcomed the release of Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani reportedly sentenced to death on charges of apostasy.

Nadarkhani’s lawyer told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that his client had been acquitted of apostasy and freed on September 8.

The lawyer said Nadarkhani who had been held since 2009 had been sentenced to three years imprisonment for proselytizing Muslims but he was released because he had already served the term.

The State Department said in a statement that, despite this "welcome news," the status of religious freedom in Iran remains "grave."

The statement added that many more Iranians remain in prison and face persecution simply because of their faith.

The U.S. said it will continue to stand with the people of Iran who struggle to have their fundamental human rights respected.
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