The U.S. Government has for the first time provided a public statement demanding the “release” of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen facing trial in Iran next week for his religious beliefs.
The National Security Council (NSC), from within the White House, released a paper statement this morning to those who inquire about Saeed, calling for his release.
The NSC statement provided to the ACLJ and Fox News by Spokesman Tommy Vietor reads, “We remain troubled by the case of U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini, who was arrested by Iranian officials more than three months ago on charges relating to his religious beliefs. We call upon Iranian authorities to release him immediately.”
This is a significant step forward in the effort to save this American pastor from imprisonment and abuse in Iran all because of his Christian faith.
While we are grateful to the NSC for providing this strong statement, questions remain as to the Obama Administration’s mixed signals regarding Saeed’s case. The State Department, which has not called for Pastor Saeed’s immediate release, has yet to fully engage in an effort to secure the release of this American pastor.
We hope that Pastor Saeed will no longer be abandoned by the U.S. Government. We urge the State Department, Secretary of State Clinton, the White House, and President Obama to echo this NSC statement demanding Saeed’s immediate release, directly engage this issue, and take all actions with in their power, both publicly and behind the scenes, to secure the release of Pastor Saeed.
The new U.S. Government involvement in this case is a direct result of hundreds of thousands of American standing up and demanding their government speak out. Now we must urge direct action on Pastor Saeed’s behalf. Add your name to the petition to save Saeed today.
Update: On a day that the NSC has called for Saeed’s immediate release, it is very disturbing that the State Department and Secretary Clinton remain silent – refusing to condemn Iran’s actions and call for Saeed’s immediate release. We join Members of Congress and the Governor of Saeed’s home state of Idaho in strongly urging the State Department to unequivocally call for Saeed’s immediate release before his sham trial begins. We are disappointed that the State Department has failed to take this basic first step to ensuring that this American citizen’s rights are protected, even as he is just hours away from facing one or Iran’s “hanging judges” on bogus charges because of his religious beliefs.