A Glimmer of Hope for American Pastor Saeed as Iran’s Foreign Minister Suggests Clemency Possible
There is a glimmer of hope for American Pastor Saeed Abedini – a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith. In an interview with CNN, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was directly asked about Pastor Saeed. His answer provides the first glimmer of hope for Pastor Saeed’s freedom. As CNN reports , "We have various clemency measures in Iran that can be introduced, happened in the past, can be introduced again in these cases," Zarif said in the interview this week from Davos, Switzerland. . . . Still, Zarif said the decision for clemency does not rest with him. "That is something for the judiciary to decide," he said. Foreign Minister Zarif’s comments come on the heels of Pastor Saeed’s recent move from the worst-of-the-ward in Rajai Shahr Prison to the political prisoner ward. Could Iran be willing to give Pastor Saeed clemency? Could it be willing to release him to return to his wife and two children here in the U.S.? One thing is for sure: Pastor Saeed’s release would be a monumental humanitarian gesture for Iran. Clemency would give Iran the opportunity, within their own judicial system, to release Pastor Saeed and show the world that it is serious about changing its human rights’ record. Now is the time to urge Iran to give Pastor Saeed clemency – to release him and allow him to return to his family here in America. Senator Rand Paul (KY) is doing just that. He has sent a letter to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani urging him to commute Pastor Saeed’s sentence and release him. The letter provides: President Rouhani, I am writing to you today to urge you to commute the sentence of Pastor Saeed Abedini and release him from prison. I have recently met with his wife, Naghmeh, and she is very concerned for her husband’s well-being. His health is deteriorating and he is apparently under constant threat of harm from both prison personnel and other inmates at Rajaei Shahr prison. I wish to remain cautiously optimistic regarding the recent diplomatic progress between our two nations. However, I must point out that if something were to happen to Pastor Abedini while he is incarcerated, any good will forged over the past few months would likely evaporate. Conversely, granting clemency to Pastor Abedini and allowing him to return to the United States would do much to create a positive atmosphere that would reflect well on future discussions. Cooperation and trust are built one gesture at a time and actions speak louder than words. Sincerely, Rand Paul, M.D. United States Senator Senator Paul is exactly right. Iran’s foreign minister has said that clemency is a possibility for Pastor Saeed. Let’s take him at his word. We urge Foreign Minister Zarif, President Rouhani, and the Iranian judiciary to start the process to give Pastor Saeed clemency – his freedom – to release this loving husband and caring father who has done nothing to harm Iran. Let Pastor Saeed return home to his family and receive the medical care he so desperately needs. We are asking hundreds of thousands of Americans to stand with us and to call on Iran to grant Pastor Saeed clemency and allow him to return home to America. Sign our new petition urging clemency for Pastor Saeed. Please continue to pray and share this petition and pastor Saeed’s story.