President Obama calls for release of pastor imprisoned in Iran
Fox News is reporting that a senior Obama Administration official has confirmed that President Obama has called for the release of American Pastor Saeed Abedini in a phone conversation today with Iranian President Rouhani.
"The source stated that President Obama raised Pastor Saeed's case along with two other Americans directly with the Iranian President," said Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice.
"According to the report, President Obama raised concerns about the imprisonment of Saeed and expressed our country's interest in seeing the American pastor returned to his family.
"While Secretary of State Kerry has called on Iran to release Pastor Saeed, this is the first time that President Obama has himself spoken out about the wrongfully imprisoned U.S. citizen.
"On behalf of the Abedini family, we're very encouraged by President Obama raising the illegal imprisonment of Pastor Saeed. Today's call is a significant step forward in this critical case.
"We're also grateful to President Obama for raising Pastor Saeed's imprisonment and call on President Rouhani to put his promise of being 'moderate' into action by releasing Saeed without further delay."
Jordan Sekulow went on to say that Pastor Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, responded to the news, by saying, "This is the most encouraging news I have heard since Saeed was imprisoned one year ago. I am very grateful to President Obama for standing up for Saeed and for the other Americans who are held captive in Iran.
"This development is truly an answer to prayer. I urge President Rouhani, as I have done throughout this week, to release Saeed so he can return to our home and our family in the United States. In recent days, Iran has released 80 prisoners being held because of their beliefs. I pray that we can add Saeed to that list very soon."
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Sekulow added, "Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen, has done nothing wrong and is imprisoned simply because of his Christian faith. If President Rouhani wants to start a new relationship with the United States, releasing this American pastor, husband, and father now would send an important message to the world."
Over 100,000 people have already written letters to President Rouhani urging Pastor Saeed's release. If you would like to sign a letter to Iran's president today, please to go: http://beheardproject.com/saeed#write
Saeed Abedini is an Iranian-American Christian pastor imprisoned in Iran. He has been detained in Iran since the summer of 2012 and incarcerated in Evin Prison since September 2012. On January 27, 2013, he was sentenced to eight years in prison, reportedly on charges of undermining national security through his Christian evangelical activities in Iran in the early 2000s.
In 2008, Abedini became an ordained minister in the U.S. and in 2010, he was granted American citizenship, thus becoming a dual Iranian-American citizen. Abedini had been living the past several years with his family in Boise, Idaho, where his wife grew up. The couple has two children and they are members of Calvary Chapel Boise. Abedini is an ordained pastor through this Calvary Chapel fellowship but, according to local media reports, "does not practice" at the church in Boise.
The American Center for Law and Justice represents Pastor Saeed's wife and their children.