Congressmen Want U.S. Help for American Christian Imprisoned in Iran

Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen imprisoned for his faith in one of Iran’s most notorious prisons, recently testified at a hearing on “The Worsening Plight of Religious Minorities in Iran” before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Following up on the hearing, six Republicans led by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), Co-Chair of the Commission, fired off a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing disappointment in the perceived lack of activity by the State Department on this case and worry that the Department is sending a signal to the world that “even human rights abuses that compromise the safety and security of American citizens will be met with virtual silence from the U.S. government.” They called on the State Department to publicly call for “the immediate and unconditional release of Pastor Abedini” and to “make it clear that the U.S. government will dedicate the full resources at its disposal to securing the freedom of Pastor Abedini—one of our own citizens.”

Dr. Frank Wright, NRB President & CEO, also sent a letter to Secretary Kerry in January on behalf of Pastor Abedini. He declared, “We find it unconscionable that the Iranian government would violate its own law and international covenants by treating any individual, never mind an American citizen, with such enmity and abuse because of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Dr. Wright urged State Department efforts toward Pastor Abedini’s release and safe passage back to the U.S.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations

Published: March 22, 2013