Will Obama Administration Finalize Nuclear Deal Before Bringing Pastor Saeed Home?
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated this week that Secretary of State Kerry again called for Pastor Saeed and the other Americans held captive in Iran to be released in his talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif. However, he also stated that the negotiations over the American hostages and the nuclear negotiations “have been raised on two separate tracts.”
According to reports, “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry . . . and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif . . . discussed the cases of Americans held by Tehran this week but no resolution was reached.”
Earnest was questioned this week about Pastor Saeed and three other Americans held in Iran. As the Daily Mail UK reported, he “refused on Thursday to rule out the possibility that the U.S. will strike a nuclear deal with Iran while the Islamic Republic holds several Americans captive.”
Earnest said, “Even if we are able to strike the kind of critically important nuclear agreement that would resolve or at least remove one of the more vexing and far-reaching policy challenges that exist in this area of the world, we would still have a large number of concerns with the Iranians.”
In response to a question about one of the other detained Americans in Iran, a Washington Post reporter who was reportedly tried in an Iran court this week, President Obama’s Press Secretary stated:
“We continue to monitor the situation closely and to seek further information,” and “call for his immediate release.”
He said Secretary John Kerry had raised the Rezaian case during a meeting this week with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“Secretary Kerry raised Mr. Rezaian's case,” Earnest said. “That is an indication of how seriously the United States takes this case.”
Kerry, he said, also called for the release of the other three captives.
But “at the same time,” Earnest insisted, “we've also been explicit about the fact that these conversations, while important, are separate” from negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.
“These two priorities have been raised on two separate tracks, but they are priorities nonetheless.”
“We believe these American citizens should be released,” Earnest told reporters. “And we also believe the Iranian regime should take the steps that are necessary” to end crippling economic sanctions and bring transparency to its nuclear ambitions.
We are appreciative that Secretary of State Kerry directly raised Pastor Saeed’s case and the other Americans imprisoned in Iran with his Iranian counterpart, but we strongly urge the Obama Administration not to leave Pastor Saeed behind in the wake of any finalized nuclear agreement.
The U.S. government should not consider reaching a final nuclear agreement with Iran while Pastor Saeed remains wrongfully imprisoned in Iran because of his Christian faith. How can we trust Iran with a nuclear program as it violates the human rights of U.S. citizens?
Pastor Saeed – a U.S. citizen – has done nothing wrong and deserves to be immediately returned to his loving wife and adoring young children here in America.
We cannot squander this critical opportunity as the U.S. government is seated across the table from Iran to bring Pastor Saeed home.
Join hundreds of thousands of Americans, and sign our petition to not leave Pastor Saeed behind (below and) at BeHeardProject.com.