A U.S. government body in charge of monitoring religious freedom in the world is urging the Obama administration to demand Iran that release a Christian pastor who is facing possible execution for apostasy.

The Obama administration should press Iran to release Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been jailed for over one year, expressed the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in a statement Friday. The non-partisan commission noted that past experiences with Iran have shown that pressure from the international community can influence the fate of prisoners.

“This case is further evidence that there is no transparency or justice in Iran’s so-called legal system for religious minorities,” remarked USCIRF Chair Leonard Leo. “Time is of the essence here. This man’s life is at stake. We call upon our government and the international community to press for his release and ensure that Iran takes no extreme action in this case or in others like it.”

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