Saeed Abedini's wife petitions Iranian president for his release
September 26 marks the one-year anniversary of American Pastor Saeed Abedini's imprisonment in Iran because of his Christian faith.
Abedini's wife Naghmeh hand-delivered a letter to Iran's new president urging her husband's freedom today.
That's according to a story by Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents Abedini's wife and children who live in the United States.
The ACLJ said the encounter occurred as Naghmeh was being interviewed in the lobby of a New York hotel where she is staying. The Iranian delegation is also staying at the same hotel.
As Naghmeh was talking with a reporter, the Iranian delegation - with President Hassan Rouhani - walked through the lobby toward the elevators.
Naghmeh approached the delegation and introduced herself to Rouhani. Speaking in Farsi, she asked him to release her husband who is imprisoned in Evin Prison because of his faith. She told the Iranian president's delegation she wanted to deliver a letter that her husband had written to the president pleading for his release.
Acco rding to the ACLJ, as the elevator doors closed, a member of Rouhani's detail accepted Abedini's letter from Naghmeh and said he would deliver it to Rouhani.
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The ACLJ said, "We are hopeful that President Rouhani will quickly act for Pastor Saeed's release as he has done for other prisoners of conscience in Iran in recent days."
There are new reports today that Iran announced the release 80 prisoners of conscience. Unfortunately, the ACLJ said, it seems that Abedini was not among those reportedly released.
The ACLJ statement said, "We can confirm that Pastor Saeed's family in Tehran saw him today during regular visitation hours, and as of noon Tehran time, he was still imprisoned and the family has not been notified that his status has changed."
While the release of these prisoners of conscience is a welcomed humanitarian gesture from the new Iranian regime, the ACLJ said if Iran's new president wants the American people and the international community to believe he is a true reformer, he must release Abe dini.
"As long as prisoners of conscience, including a U.S. citizen, suffer torment in Iranian prison, President Rouhani's claims of change will remain unsubstantiated," the ACLJ said. "President Rouhani is clearly seeking international approval. He is listening. And now he has Pastor Saeed's letter."