American pastor Saeed Abedini remains imprisoned in Iran’s deadliest prison. Another year begins with Pastor Saeed separated from his wife, his kids and his country, suffering in chains for the gospel.
With a new year comes a renewed resolve to obtain this persecuted pastor’s freedom. Abandoned by his country, not the American people but the Obama administration, it is incumbent upon each one of us to fight for his freedom.
Our offices around the world, from here in the U.S. to Europe and Brazil, continue to press forward with a number of efforts to secure his freedom.
Pastor Saeed—a U.S. citizen—must not be allowed to endure another year in the brutal conditions of an Iranian prison. He has done nothing wrong; his only “crime” is his faith in Christ
Pastor Saeed’s family in Iran was unable to visit him over the holidays, and it is uncertain when the next opportunity will come. It has been four weeks since family members visited him. And since his transfer to Rajai Shahr Prison in November, visitations are much less frequent and more uncertain than when he was confined in Evin Prison.
Even through the Christmas and New Year holidays, we have been working nonstop on behalf of Pastor Saeed, fighting for his release.
It is crucial that we not allow Iran to make Pastor Saeed disappear.
In fact, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, sent out a tweet around Christmas, claiming to wish all Iranian Christians a Merry Christmas, even while his regime imprisons and tortures Christians like Pastor Saeed.
We immediately responded. It is tactics like this that the regime constantly uses in an attempt to deflect public pressure away from the realities of its abominable human rights record.
Once again, President Rouhani's words do not match his actions. His statement wishing Christians health, success and happiness in the new year is nothing more than his continued push to redefine his radical regime in an effort to make it appear more moderate on the world stage. By continuing to hold American pastor Saeed Abedini in prison for more than a year simply because of his Christian faith, Iran continues to show its blatant disregard for religious freedom and human rights.
Pastor Saeed's health continues to deteriorate, and his captors refuse to provide him with prescribed medication. If President Rouhani is sincere about his wish for Christians—his wish for health, success and happiness—he would release Pastor Saeed immediately so he could be reunited with his wife and children without delay.
Until that happens—until Pastor Saeed is safely in the arms of his loving family here in the U.S.—we will not let up. We will not relent in exercising every available channel and opportunity, here in the U.S. and globally, to bring Pastor Saeed home. And we urge the White House and the State Department to fully engage this issue. Every innocent American deserves the full support of their government, especially those who suffer for their faith.
We will continue to share updates about Pastor Saeed’s case and how you can be involved in the fight for his freedom at BeHeardProject.com. Please continue to share his story and pray that this year, 2014, would be the year Pastor Saeed comes home.