With nuclear negotiations between Iran and the United States approaching their November 24 deadline, Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), this week raised his voice that Pastor Saeed Abedini must not be forgotten.
After two years, Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, remains imprisoned for his faith in Iran. He was arrested by Iranian authorities in September 2012 for allegedly being a threat to Iran’s national security and has been subjected to severe interrogations, periods of solitary confinement, and physical assault.
Mr. Sekulow made clear that he does not think Pastor Abedini or others so imprisoned should be pawns in U.S.-Iran negotiations nor should they be “ransomed in exchange for nuclear concessions.” Rather, he said, “We are suggesting this is a test—a test of the Iranian regime’s good will and good faith. Words are one thing, actions another thing entirely. And the action of releasing Pastor Saeed would speak volumes.”
Mr. Sekulow further declared:
Pastor Saeed has suffered long enough. America has trusted Iran too much. The combination of those two facts presents a compelling case for demanding Pastor Saeed’s release now, before any nuclear deal. If we do not make this demand, if we consent to his continued imprisonment and abuse, we’ll send our own message to Iran, to the world, and to our own citizens. That message will be an old one—a message of weakness and appeasement that has long brought western democracies to grief and defeat.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: November 21, 2014