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Members of Congress Urge State Department Action for American Pastor Imprisoned in Iran

PastorAn Iranian-American pastor’s trial began in Iran this week. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has dual citizenship in the United States and Iran, was imprisoned in September on charges of threats to Iran’s national security, but in actuality because of the exercise of his Christian faith. Last week, 49 Members of Congress sent letters to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on behalf of Pastor Saeed. These Senators and Representatives drew attention to the fact that Iran is violating international covenants and its own law in persecuting Pastor Saeed because of his religion. The Senate letter states:

        Although the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, 
        we strongly encourage the State Department to exhaust all efforts to secure
        Mr. Abedini’s prompt return. Saeed’s efforts to provide humanitarian relief and 
        exercise fundamental human rights should be applauded not condemned. We
        should not stand idly by while the Iranian regime arbitrarily persecutes a U.S. 
        citizen who has committed no crime.

Similarly, the House letter declares, “We respectfully request that you leave no stone unturned in your efforts to bring Mr. Abedini home to his family. We believe that strong and sustained advocacy from the State Department would do much to rally the voice of the world against this wrongful detainment.”

By Aaron Mercer
Vice President Government Relations

Published: January 25, 2013

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