Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi dis
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi dis Reuters

Iran has put off the execution of Christian Pastor Yousof Nadarkhani -- probably in response to massive international pressure -- but it is not clear for how long.

Nadarkhani was due to be executed on Tuesday, after having lost the final appeal against a conviction on a charge of apostasy in Iran's Supreme Court.

The 33-year-old pastor converted to Christianity from being a Muslim at the age of 19, making him an apostate in the eyes of Islam.

In 2009, Nadarkhani filed a complaint with local officials over Islamic indoctrination of his children at school, contending that his children should not be forced to learn about a religion they do not practice.

He was arrested shortly thereafter and convicted of apostasy by a provincial court in Gilan, in the state of Rasht, where he and his wife and two children live. The pastor, a member of the Protestant Evangelical Church of Iran, was given a chance to recant, but refused.

According to Article 225 the Iranian penal code, “punishment for an Innate Apostate is death,” and “punishment for a Parental Apostate is death.” Shari'a (Islamic) law states the same.