UPDATE: This post has been revised to reflect new accounts of Naghmeh's encounter with President Rouhani's delegation.
Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, hand-delivered a letter to the Iranian president's UN delegation urging her husband’s freedom today.
The encounter occurred as Naghmeh was participating in an interview in the lobby of a New York hotel where she is staying. As it turns out, 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 attempted to introduce herself to President Rouhani as the elevator doors were closing. Speaking in Farsi, she was able to tell members of the president's delegation about her husband who is imprisoned in Evin Prison because of his faith and urged his release. She told the Iranian president’s delegation she wanted to deliver a letter that Pastor Saeed had written to the president pleading for his release.
A member of President Rouhani’s detail accepted Pastor Saeed’s letter from Naghmeh and said he would deliver it to President Rouhani.
And just a few hours after that encounter, Naghmeh spoke with another member of the Iranian president's UN delegation in the same hotel lobby and delivered Saeed's letter to her as well.
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 as he departed Iran for the United States ahead of an appearance at the United Nations.
Unfortunately, it appears that Pastor Saeed was not among those reportedly released. 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, Iran must release Pastor Saeed Abedini – a U.S. citizen – wrongly imprisoned for his faith. This week, Thursday, September 26th, is the one-year mark of the imprisonment of Pastor Saeed, who recently wrote his daughter a letter for her birthday.
If Iran’s new president wants the American people and the international community to believe he is a true reformer, he must release Pastor Saeed. 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.
President Rouhani is clearly seeking international approval. He is listening. And now he has Pastor Saeed’s letter.
Now is the time to speak with one voice. Already, more than 80,000 letters have been written to Iran’s new president through the ACLJ’s #BeHeard Project website. Join one of the largest letter-writing campaigns in history and urge Pastor Saeed’s freedom today.
One of the most puzzling aspects of America’s relationship with Iran is the reality that — by rhetoric and conduct — the United States acts as if it fears Iran, while Iran behaves as if it has nothing to fear from the U.S. Iran commits repeated acts of war against the U.S., unlawfully holds our...
In the days leading up to the nuclear negotiation deadline on November 24th, both the U.S. Congress and the United Nations are taking a firm stance against Iran’s violation of human rights. As the Washington Free Beacon reports : The United Nations late Tuesday voted to condemn Iranian human rights...
It’s becoming increasingly clear that President Obama has no intention to actually “destroy” the Islamic State. Even his much-vaunted air war represents a mere shadow of American military capabilities. Here’s Max Boot in a must-read post over at Commentary , comparing the air effort in Iraq and...
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour has once again raised American Pastor Saeed’s plight in an exclusive interview with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani was in the U.S. to address the United Nations General Assembly. He was asked specifically about Pastor Saeed’s illegal imprisonment because he is a...