Via National Religious Broadcasters (NRB)
This week the Senate has been debating the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which would give Congress an opportunity to weigh in for or against any deal the Executive Branch reaches with Iran over its nuclear program.
Among the numerous amendments that may potentially be considered by the Senate are some that would condition the success of an agreement on the release of U.S. citizens who have been imprisoned by Iran for years.
NRB urged this week that the final legislation require the release and safe return of these Americans, including Pastor Saeed Abedini.
“Quite frankly, I am confounded that Pastor Saeed Abedini and other U.S citizens unjustly imprisoned by the Iranian regime have not already been set free,” said Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President and CEO of NRB.
In a January meeting in Idaho, President Obama told Pastor Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, that securing his freedom was a “top priority.”
Unfortunately, this week White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest indicated the President would veto the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act if a requirement is included for the release of Americans Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian.
“At one time, the securing of Pastor Abedini’s release was a ‘top priority’ to the Obama Administration,” Dr. Johnson said. “Now it is subject to a presidential veto threat if included in this Iran bill. This is shocking.”
Dr. Johnson concluded by urging Senators to make sure the U.S. “does not leave these American citizens behind in its negotiations with Tehran.”
Amir Hekmati, a former Marine, has been imprisoned in Iran for over three and a half years, longer than any American citizen held captive by the country. In 2011, he was taken prisoner while visiting his sick grandmother. The Iranian government charged him with “espionage, waging war against God, and corrupting the earth” and sentenced him to die. While the verdict was overturned, he was sentenced during a new secret trial to ten years in prison. Amir and his lawyers didn’t know until after the trial took place.
Following is an update on Pastor Saeed from his wife. Today is his birthday:
Saeed’s dad was able to visit Saeed in prison today. Saeed is encouraged by your notes of encouragements and Birthday messages! Thank you for taking the time to encourage Saeed. He carries your messages with him in his heart and they are a great source of hope for him in the prison. To know that he is not forgotten gives him strength to continue.
Unfortunately the White House threatened to veto any amendment that would pressure Iran to release the Americans that it is holding hostage. The amendment would require the release of Saeed and other Americans before ANY Sanction relief for Iran. The administration does not want anything or anyone to get in the way of the nuclear negotiations.
At first I was heart broken over this news, but immediately I remembered that God is in control and that I have been praying that no one except GOD would get the credit for Saeed’s release.
Our family appreciates your continued prayers.
With much love in Jesus,