President Donald Trump will soon be embarking on his first overseas trip since taking office. Ahead of this trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Belgium, and Italy, President Trump met this week with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. NRB expressed thanks as the President and Vice President Mike Pence placed heavy emphasis on the need for Pastor Andrew Brunson to be released. NRB has joined other voices, including prominent legislators like Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), in highlighting the case of Brunson, a U.S. citizen who has been pastoring churches in Turkey for more than two decades and has been unjustly incarcerated since October. Notably, Presidents Trump and Erdogan will meet again at a NATO summit in Brussels next week.
Also of note, the State Department released a report highlighting human rights abuses by Iran and resulting sanctions imposed. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Ambassador Stuart Jones said, “Whether it’s imprisoning people arbitrarily, inflicting physical abuse and torture, or executing juvenile offenders, the Iranian regime has for decades committed egregious human rights violations against its own people and foreign nationals, and this pattern of behavior must come to an end.” While announcing that the U.S. will continue to waive certain sanctions in accordance with its commitments under the previous administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, Ambassador Jones declared, “The U.S. and its partners will continue to apply pressure on Iran to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone in Iran.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: May 19, 2017