(Voice of the Persecuted) This morning, I could not hold back the tears as I recall the roller coaster ride of emotions the Abedini family has been on since Pastor Saeed’s arrest for his Christian faith in 2012 by the Iranian government. During a face to face meeting earlier this year, President Obama promised the family to do all he could to bring Saeed out of the dangerous Rajai Shahr Prison, a deadly jail notorious for housing violent murderers and rapists in Iran. He also promised Jacob, Saeed’s 6 year old son, that he would try to fulfill his request to have his father home for his birthday—which was on March 17th.
Since his imprisonment, Saeed has been in very poor health and bleeding internally due to the beatings he has received. The necessary medical attention and surgery he needs has been denied.
As the US proceeds with nuclear talks to negotiate and seal a deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran, an American pastor/citizen sits in an Iranian prison cell, is tortured and abused and considered a criminal because of his Christian faith. Three other Americans are being held in the country, yet their release has not been obtained nor negotiated as part of the ‘deal’.
In a piece by Charles Krauthammer at the Washington Post titled Obama’s Nixon doctrine: anointing Iran, he shared,
Last week, Obama preemptively caved on the long-standing U.S. condition that there be no immediate sanctions relief in any Iranian nuclear deal. He casually dismissed this red line, declaring that what is really important is whether sanctions can be reimposed if Iran cheats. And it doesn’t stop there. The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama is offering Tehran a $30 billion to $50 billion signing bonus (drawn from frozen Iranian assets) — around 10 percent of Iranian GDP.
Those tears turned into a full on cry as I felt the searing disappointment/abandonment Naghmeh and their children must be experiencing, today. The talks with Iran could be one of the few opportunities the US ever has to bring all 4 Americans home. Hundreds of thousands have called on the Obama Administration to secure their release, but our cries appear to go unheard.
It is hard to understand how our government would not demand the release of these Americans before sitting down at the table with Iran. It is appalling that the US would consider offering a ‘good faith gesture’ in the form of a huge signing bonus, as Americans are unjustly detained, tortured and their lives endangered at the hands of the Iranian regime.
Below is the transcript of the open letter from American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, to President Obama urging his Administration to do more to free her husband and the other wrongfully imprisoned Americans held in Iran.
President Obama, When you met with my children, Rebekka and Jacob, and I in January, you promised that you would do everything you can to get my husband — their father — out of prison. You told our family that securing my husband’s release is a “high priority.” I know that this is a very difficult thing to do, but I ask that you, Secretary of State John Kerry, and your Administration to do everything they can to have our fellow U.S. citizens freed before any deal is finalized with Iran.
In your address on April 2nd you stated, “These are matters of war and peace, and they should be evaluated based on facts and what is ultimately best for the American people.” The fact is that my husband, who is being held simply because of his Christian faith, and the 3 other wrongfully held U.S. citizens are Americans and they need to be released.
Mr. President, as the US continues its negotiations with Iran, will you please demand the immediate release of Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmati, Robert Levinson, and my husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini – this direct ask needs to be priority front and center not pushed to the sidelines. These Americans deserve to be freed and returned to their families immediately.
Please pray and sign the petition for their release. And please continue to remain a VOICE for Pastor Saeed until he is returned to his family on American soil.
By L. Kanalos, VOP Advocate