President Obama has once again directly and publicly called for American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s release who has been imprisoned in Iran for nearly two-and-a-half years because of his Christian faith.
President Obama’s statement today comes during the Iranian holiday of Nowruz. Iran often, as part of its celebration of the new year, gives a reprieve or even frees some prisoners.
President Obama stated:
The spirit of family is deeply woven into all of the rich cultural traditions of the Nowruz holiday. It is a time for reuniting and rejoicing with loved ones and sharing hopes for the new year. Today, as families across the world gather to mark this holiday, we remember those American families who are enduring painful separations from their loved ones who are imprisoned or went missing in Iran.
Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho has spent two and a half years detained in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. He must be returned to his wife and two young children, who needlessly continue to grow up without their father. . . .
At this time of renewal, compassion, and understanding, I reiterate my commitment to bringing our citizens home and call on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to immediately release Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian and to work cooperatively with us to find Robert Levinson so that they all can be safely reunited with their families as soon as possible.
In honor of the familial spirit so strongly enshrined within this holiday and for the Abedini, Hekmati, Rezaian, and Levinson families, I hope this new spring is filled with joyous moments for us all with all of our loved ones by our sides.
We join President Obama in urging Iran to free Pastor Saeed and the other imprisoned or missing Americans.
Pastor Saeed has committed no crime. He remains imprisoned – suffering immensely from injuries sustained in prison beatings – for his Christians faith. This week, for the third straight year, Pastor Saeed was forced to miss his son Jacob’s birthday. He deserves to be free. He deserves to be home in America with his family.
We acknowledge and are grateful to President Obama for reiterating his “commitment to bringing our citizens home.” It is this engagement at the highest levels that continues to put pressure on Iran to release Pastor Saeed – a U.S. citizen.
We urge the Obama Administration, as it literally sits across the negotiating table from Iran, to do all within its power to bring Pastor Saeed home. No American should be left behind to suffer unjustly in an Iranian prison simply because of his Christian faith.
It is time for Iran to comply with its international obligations to respect human rights and free Pastor Saeed.
As we continue working in Congress, at the U.N., and across the globe for Pastor Saeed and the persecuted Church we need your support.
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