Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is publicly holding American Pastor Saeed Abedini and the other wrongfully imprisoned Americans as hostages, demanding ransom for their freedom.
Yesterday, Rouhani told CNN:
“If the Americans take the appropriate steps and set [a number of Iranians in the United States who are imprisoned] free, certainly the right environment will be open and the right circumstances will be created for us to do everything within our power and our purview to bring about the swiftest freedom for the Americans held in Iran as well. . . .
If the Americans take the appropriate actions vis-a-vis Iranian citizens who are being imprisoned here, then the right atmosphere and environment will be created for reciprocal action perhaps.
This is an absurd and insulting demand, treating Pastor Saeed – who has committed no crime and is merely imprisoned because of his Christian faith – as a hostage for ransom.
Pastor Saeed’s wife Naghmeh emphatically responded:
My husband is not collateral. He is a father and a man who broke no law. Yet Iran is treating him like a pawn in a game of chess. President Rouhani's demand that America release 19 criminals in exchange for his consideration of releasing individuals like my husband, imprisoned solely for his faith, demonstrates that the Iran of today is no different than the Iran who took Americans hostage during the Iranian revolution.
The environment is ripe for Iran to demonstrate it is ready to re-enter the global market and international scene of diplomats; it is time to show its good will, to change its image from one of a pariah to a member of the global society who will protect fundamental rights.
As Iran’s president prepares to address the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York – on American soil – now is the time to garner goodwill on the world stage and release the wrongfully imprisoned Americans. It is time for the U.N. to directly engage and urge Iran to release these wrongfully imprisoned U.S. citizens and allow them to return home – especially Pastor Saeed.
Naghmeh explained the importance of this moment on Fox News this morning:
Our team, along with Naghmeh, is currently in New York, engaging with key world leaders and U.N. delegations to increase pressure on Iran, as Iran’s president is on U.S. soil – where Pastor Saeed belongs.
Over 1 million have signed our petition for Pastor Saeed’s freedom. Please continue building on this momentum as we aggressively fight for his freedom by adding your name today.
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