Kerry Urges Iran to Release Saeed, Other Americans
The two year anniversary of Pastor Saeed Abedini's imprisonment in Iran is next month. With it a new focus by the U.S. Government calling for his release and that of other Americans held there.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued an impassioned plea for their release according to the American Center for Law and Justice.
"The Unites States respectfully calls on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to release Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, and Jason Rezaian to their families and work cooperatively with us to find Robert Levinson and bring him home," Kerry said.
Secretary Kerry added that the United States is committed to seeing all of those imprisoned or detained in Iran returned to their families, friends and loved ones.
However, Kerry focused more on Pastor Saeed's plight, "On September 26, Mr. Abedini will have been detained for two years in Iran, on charges related to his religious beliefs. Mrs. Abedini has spoken eloquently about the difficulties her family has faced during this challenging time."
Kerry went on to say in his statement that the Iranian government should release Pastor Saeed immediately.
The ACLJ noted the tone of his statement is welcomed and different in that Kerry noted the "severe difficulty faced by Pastor Saeed's family."
"Pastor Saeed - a 34-year-old U.S. citizen - has done nothing wrong; he is imprisoned merely because of his religious beliefs. His wife, Naghmeh, and two young children, Jacob and Rebekka, desperately miss and deserve Saeed back home." ACLJ's Jordan Sekulow said.
"The reality of what Pastor Saeed's family faces on a daily basis without their loving husband and father was best expressed by Pastor Saeed's children in a recent video. In the video they pled for President Obama to do more for their father's freedom and implore Iran's leaders to let their father come home to them," Sekulow said.
Sekulow also noted that although the ACLJ is thankful for the Obama Administration's new focus on Pastor Saeed, it will continue working to see Saeed returned "safely home to his family."
Sekulow said the two-year anniversary of Saeed's imprisonment for his Christian faith won't be overlooked if the pastor isn't released by then.
"On that day, thousands of people around the world will join together is hundreds of cities worldwide in a global day of prayer for Pastor Saeed and the persecuted Church," he said.
Sekulow pointed out Pastor Saeed has said he is greatly encouraged "knowing that in my chains the body of Christ has chained together in prayer."
Sekulow said more information on all the prayer vigils across the country can be found at SaeedVigil.com. He also urged Christians everywhere to keep praying individually for Pastor Saeed and sharing his story.
He said the petition for the pastor's release has 287,000 signatures but more are needed. Go to BeHeardProject.com to sign it and speak out for Saeed's freedom.