Two Key Questions Regarding Pastor Saeed: Will Iran Keep its new Promise? Will Secretary Kerry Call for his Release?
Our sources in Iran have confirmed that Pastor Saeed’s family in Iran was able to visit with him today in Evin Prison for an extended two-hour visitation. It’s the first time Iranian authorities have granted his family an extended visit since his imprisonment last fall. This extended visitation was granted as part of Nowruz, the Persian New Year celebrations.
Pastor Saeed reported that doctors have now finally examined him for internal bleeding he has sustained from repeated beatings in the brutal prison.
He also said that he had been informed by prison officials that he would be taken to a private hospital outside of Evin to receive desperately needed medical attention. There’s no word on when this would occur. But with his medical condition worsening each day, such medical attention is needed immediately and would be a welcomed sign.
If true, such action would be the first modest step toward acknowledging the grave human rights abuses Iran has perpetrated against this U.S. citizen. While we are hopeful Pastor Saeed will receive urgent medical attention, we must patiently wait to see if this is yet another failed promise. We hope that Iran will follow through on its promise to provide private medical care, but even more, we remain resilient in our call for Pastor Saeed’s immediate release.
Our sources have also confirmed that the Iranian Mission to the United Nations has asked Iran's top appeals court officials to review Pastor Saeed’s case.
International pressure is working. Now is the time to step up the pressure. We know Iran is listening. Nations all around the world must speak out about Pastor Saeed’s plight. But that pressure must begin at home.
President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and the U.S. State Department have yet to make a public, proactive statement calling for Pastor Saeed’s freedom and urging nations around the world to pressure Iran to that end. As Congressman Chris Smith (NJ) said at the hearing last Friday, this inaction is a “colossal failure.”
And as we have said time and time again, saying nothing entrenches the status quo, which is catastrophic for Pastor Saeed.
Congressman Frank Wolf (VA), Chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, stated that he is leaving the record open for one week for the State Department to make a statement. Secretary of State Kerry has until this Friday to make a statement, or we along with Members of Congress will pursue further congressional action.