While in Idaho last week, President Barack Obama took the opportunity to meet with the family of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen who has been imprisoned for his faith in Iran for over two years. According to a release by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), President Obama told Naghmeh Abedini that securing her husband’s freedom was a “top priority,” and that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brings up this incarceration each time he meets with officials of Iran. Mrs. Abedini also relayed an interaction between her son and the President:
Jacob said, "Mr. President, can you please bring daddy home for my birthday?" President Obama asked, "When is your birthday?" Jacob said March 17th, and the President said he would try very hard. He smiled, got up, hugged me again, and said goodbye. He shook the kids’ hands and left.
Pastor Abedini was arrested by Iranian authorities in September 2012 for allegedly being a threat to Iran’s national security. He has been subjected to severe interrogations, periods of solitary confinement, and physical assault.
ACLJ declared in its release, “The face-to-face meeting elevates Pastor Saeed's plight on the world stage - and should send a powerful message to the Iranians - it is time to release Pastor Saeed so he can return home to his family.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: January 30, 2015