(Voice of the Persecuted) Today marks the 1,000th day that Pastor Saeed Abedini has spent in an Iranian prison for his Christian faith. While the U.S. sits in negotiations with Iran, for too long Saeed has been separated from his wife, Naghmeh, and their two young children. Pastor Saeed, an American citizen was in Iran wrapping up the final details for a government approved orphanage when prior to returning home in 2012, he was suddenly apprehended by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. This Christian minister is now serving out a “virtual death sentence” of eight years in one of Iran’s most notorious prisons. Charged with “undermining the national security of Iran” because of his Christian faith, he has suffered brutal physical/psychological torture in an attempt to pressure Saeed to deny his faith. His life is also at risk by fellow inmates, as the prison is one of the most dangerous in the country.
Saeed has not denied Christ and has pressed into God who has helped him endure; in turn strengthening his faith. In the West, Saeed has been the face of Christian persecution. His case has literally open the eyes of thousands in the U.S. and the world to the fact that Christian persecution is a modern day reality and rising at unprecedented levels. Pastor Abedini has been a wonderful example of what it truly means to give our all for Christ Jesus, even when faced with extreme persecution and possible death.
We call on President Obama and his administration to secure Saeed’s immediate release. It is inexcusable to continue with any type of negotiations, particularly a nuclear deal, when this American citizen wrongfully sits in a dark prison cell for his Christian faith. It is absurd that his belief in Jesus makes him a threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran. His incarceration is a tactic being used by the Iranian regime to strike fear in the hearts of Christians and those considering to convert to Christianity. Oppressing their own people.
As you sit across the table with the Iranian regime, everyday Iran continues to hold and brutally abuse innocent Americans, it is a metaphorical slap to the face of America. While in dialogue with them, American pastor Saeed Abedini prays to survive for one more day as he longs to be reunited with his family. His family prays for his health and well-being, while his children cry out for their father.
So many around the world dream of coming to this nation to live out their life protected with the freedom to worship without fears of extreme abuse. How can we ignore the fact and deal with a government who abuses this human right in the most extreme way? What message does this send to Iran and the rest of the world? How can we claim to stand up for the human rights of all people, yet abandon and leave behind our own brother, an innocent American?
Speaking on behalf of many who stand behind the Abedini family, we respectfully ask for our voices to be heard. NO DEALS with Iran without procuring freedom for Saeed Abedini. NO AGREEMENTS to be signed before he is back on U.S. soil. Freedom of religion is a cornerstone right for all other fundamental human rights. Let us prove to the world, we still care deeply for the religious rights of all humanity. At this critical time in history, we must say NO to nations who abuse human rights. And certainly not continue to sit at bargaining tables with those detaining one of our own, abusing him for his Christian faith and refusing to release him. Bring our brother home!
Lois Kanalos and the VOP Team
Please take action and speak out!
While the U.S. is in negotiations with Iran for a nuclear deal, Joann Mizutani came up with an idea to duplicate the actions taken for Meriam Ibrahim (who is now free and living in the U.S.) for American Pastor Saeed Abedini. For the past 2 days, we’ve joined this campaign calling on the government to procure Saeed’s immediate release. With endorsement by his wife, let’s keep this going! Standing behind the Abedini’s, we will continue each day until June 30, 2015.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Contact the White House: (202) 456-1111 and leave a message with one of the nice volunteers and let them know that you will also say a prayer for them (remember WHY Saeed is incarcerated and make this about Jesus!)
Twitter users can Tweet to @POTUS, @BarackObama, and @WhiteHouse using #savesaeed #freesaeed
Email the White House through https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact. You can select “Foreign Policy” or “Civil Rights” or both!
Contact the State Department: The general number is (202) 647-6575. The number for Secretary Kerry is (202) 647-9572 (perhttp://www.state.gov/documents/organization/112065.pdf )
Tweet to @JohnKerry and @StateDept using #savesaeed #freesaeed
Email the State Department through https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform. The subject heading should say something about Saeed or the Americans in general in Iran.
PLEASE BE CONCISE AND RESPECTFUL IN YOUR REQUESTS. We all feel very passionate about this and want our brother home with his family. Being disrespectful and/or spiteful will not garner any respect for our position and request.
Call multiple times throughout the day if you feel led. You can even go to their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts and leave comments. You can also email the White House and State Department. Flood every avenue you can.
Lastly, please share this on your social media accounts and anywhere else in order get the word out. Encourage others to help get our brother home. Thank you in advance. We can make a difference!