Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen serving an eight-year jail term in Iran, has become the main target of abuse by his fellow prisoners and his prison guards, an Iranian human rights agency has revealed.
Little is known about Abedini's conditions for the past few months since the government of Iran has rejected all appeals to allow phone calls between Abedini and his family, according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).
Abedini's family grew even more concerned after learning from an Iranian human rights source that the Christian pastor has become the victim of an aggressive inspection in prison.
"Human Right Activists News Agency Iran reported on Wednesday that Pastor Saeed's condition in Rajai Shahr prison was very worrisome and that on August 6th, prison guards raided Pastor Saeed's prison cell again. The news agency reports that Saeed was the sole target of the raid and that the guards' actions toward Pastor Saeed were dishonorable and harsh," the ACLJ wrote in a statement.
The ACLJ once again called on the American government to send a message to Iran demanding the release of Abedini and other imprisoned Americans.
"Whatever benefit the Iranian regime believes it may receive from continuing to hold Pastor Saeed and the other Americans, the American government and the international community must make clear that unjustly imprisoning innocent men and continuing its hostage tactics will only result in Iran's continued outcast from the international community," it said.
The group has joined critics of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers reached last July, noting that the agreement has not touched on the case of Abedini, who was thrown in Iranian jail 2012 because of his Christian faith.
In his last message to his family, Abedini expressed his undying faith in God despite his continuing travails. God is "in control" of everything that happens, he said in a letter that ACLJ obtained from his family.
The pastor wrote the letter in response to signed global petitions for his release.
"I want you to know that as I wrote the thank you letter to President [Barack] Obama after he had visited my family in January of this year (which he read at the national prayer breakfast), that God is in control of all countries and leadership in the world when the body of Christ comes together in united prayer. He is in control and He is the One who beautifully writes the history over all governments, presidents, and any P5+1 negotiating team," Abedini wrote, referring to the world powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran.