Sunday night Argo took home the Oscar for best motion picture, but it’s impossible not to be reminded of another American hostage still trapped in Iran, Pastor Saeed Abedini.
Argo portrays the daring escape of several of the American hostages taken by Iran in 1979. Hollywood and entertainment news are a buzz this week with talk of Iran and the American hostages.
What shouldn’t be lost in all the attention garnered by this movie is that there is a real life American hostage currently trapped in Iran. Pastor Saeed – a U.S. citizen – is now serving an eight-year sentence in Iran for his religious beliefs – a hostage in Iran’s war on Christians and other religious minorities.
Despite the fact that Iran has signed numerous treaties and international obligations, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and even its own constitution protects freedom of religion, Iran still abuses and imprisons this pastor for his faith.
Unlike in 1979, it is a lot easier for individuals to take a stand and make a difference in the life of an American hostage in Iran. Already nearly 345,000 people have taken a stand for Pastor Saeed by signing a petition to the United Nations for his freedom at SaveSaeed.org. Thousands more have shared his story on Twitter through the hashtag #SaveSaeed, and it is making a difference.
A few months ago, Pastor Saeed was almost unknown. Today, the U.S. State Department, White House, and numerous American political leaders have stood up calling for his release. In addition, a number of Christian and Country music artists have taken action on Pastor Saeed’s behalf. You can watch their videos at SaveSaeed.org.
The Academy Awards’ Oscar for Argo earlier this week highlighted the oppressive and dangerous conditions in Iran, still seen today. Ben Affleck, in his acceptance speech for the Oscar, called attention to people “in Iran living in terrible circumstances right now.” One of those people is Pastor Saeed.
He faces daily psychological and physical abuse and torture at the hands of his Iranian captors all because he is a Christian in the radical Islamic Republic of Iran.
As the United Nations Human Rights Council prepares to meet early next month, stand up for the persecuted pastor. Demand his freedom. Sign the petition at SaveSaeed.org.