This week the U.S. Senate approved a resolution calling for the release of several Americans being held in Iran, among them Pastor Saeed Abedini, a resident of Idaho. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) sponsored the resolution and declared, “Today nearly every member of the Senate has called on President Obama to use every diplomatic tool in the box to make sure Pastor Saeed Abedini and the three other Americans being held by Iran are released. We will continue to battle to obtain the release of Pastor Abedini.” Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), who has also been a leader in this cause, added, “It is simply unacceptable that after two years of U.S.-Iran negotiations, Iranian officials continue to hold four American citizens as prisoner without any real cause.”
NRB had called for approval of an amendment to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act that would require the release and safe return of Pastor Abedini and the other Americans unjustly incarcerated in Iran. However, while President Obama had previously told Pastor Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, that securing his freedom was a “top priority,” the White House proceeded to threaten a veto of the Iran nuclear bill if language demanding the U.S. citizens’ release was added to it. The Senate chose not to adopt this or other amendments to that bill. However, the Senate approved Senator Risch’s separate resolution (S.Con.Res. 16) by a 90-0 vote.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: May 15, 2015