As the deadline for the Iranian nuclear talks loomed today, the State Department announced that the deadline has once again been extended to July 7th.
This means more time for the U.S. government to do the right thing and not leave American Pastor Saeed Abedini behind.
[T]he State Department announced the extension of an interim nuclear agreement that was set to expire Tuesday night, the original deadline for a final deal. The preliminary measures have been prolonged to July 7 “to allow more time for negotiations to reach a long-term solution … on the Iran nuclear issue,” spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
Talks in Austria’s capital restarted Tuesday after a one-day interruption, with Iran’s chief diplomat returning from Tehran and insisting he had a mandate to finalize a nuclear agreement. The promise came despite increased signs of backtracking by his country’s supreme leader and an acknowledgement by all sides that no pact would be reached by their self-imposed deadline.
This extended deadline provides another chance for the Obama Administration to demand what they should have been demanding all along – before we will even consider finalizing any nuclear deal, Iran must free Pastor Saeed and the other wrongfully imprisoned Americans in Iran.
The Obama Administration has said that Pastor Saeed’s freedom is a “top priority” and that discussions about his freedom are relegated to the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations.
Both of these statements cannot be true.
If he’s a top priority, then they must demand his freedom. He is an American citizen tormented in one of Iran’s most dangerous prisons because of his faith in Christ.
At today’s news conference with the President of Brazil, President Obama was asked about Pastor Saeed and the other Americans imprisoned in Iran.
Asked about Americans being held in Iran, the president said the United States continues to push with urgency to secure their release.
“This is something that we continue to push hard on irrespective of the nuclear deal,” Obama said. “It’s a top priority for us to make sure that our people are treated fairly and on the face of it in the case of these individuals who’ve been held, they have not been and they are not being afforded the basic due process and legal rights that we afford visitors to our country so we're deeply concerned about it, we spend a lot of time pushing on it, and we will continue to do so. […]
When I talk to the families, we remind them that that is a mission that will continue and has been worked on consistently throughout their captivity,” Obama said.
It is time for America to do more than just talk. It’s time to take action.
It’s long past time for Pastor Saeed to come home.
Today is Pastor Saeed’s 11th wedding anniversary, in which his wife is once again celebrating alone without her husband and the father of her two young children.
In reaction to the extended deadline, Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, said:“I am grateful that President Obama recognizes that my husband was refused the basic standards of Due Process. I am grateful President Obama verbalizes that Saeed’s freedom and that of the other Americans is a top priority, but as the wife and mother to Saeed’s children, it is hard to see the priority without seeing concrete results. With the extension of the nuclear deadline to July 7th, I pray that our government does not take these final days at the table with Iran for granted. Instead, I urge them to capitalize on the extension to ensure that Saeed’s freedom is truly a top priority and guaranteed before they leave the table. ”
The extended deadline provides a little more time for the U.S. to do the right thing.
But Pastor Saeed’s life still hangs in the balance, and the extension only gives the U.S. a few more days to ensure his release while it is still directly seated across the table from Iran.
Join us today as we demand that the White House remember Pastor Saeed and the other Americans wrongfully imprisoned in Iran. We continue to mobilize our resources in Washington, D.C., at the United Nations, and around the world to save Pastor Saeed.
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