HOME > NEWSROOM > ARTICLES > Vigils for American Pastor Still Imprisoned in Iran

Vigils for American Pastor Still Imprisoned in Iran

In Washington, DC, and scores of other cities around the country and the world, prayer vigils were held Thursday on behalf of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen imprisoned for his faith for over a year in one of Iran’s most notorious prisons. Pastor Abedini was arrested by Iranian authorities last September for allegedly being a threat to Iran’s national security and has been subjected to severe interrogations, periods of solitary confinement, and physical assault.

On Capitol Hill, a number of Members of Congress highlighted this horrific situation. Among them, Congressman Robert Pittenger (R-NC) highlighted Pastor Abedini’s plight on the House Floor and sent a letter to President Obama urging condemnation of Iran’s actions and insisting on Pastor Abedini’s release. “This brutal and inhumane treatment requires an American response which makes clear our dedication to protecting religious freedoms around the world, especially with regards to an American citizen,” Congressman Pittenger declared.

In a letter highlighted by a full-page New York Times ad, Reverend Billy Graham directly appealed to newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was in New York City this week for the United Nations General Assembly. He urged, “On September 26, the one-year anniversary of Pastor Abedini’s imprisonment, thousands will attend prayer vigils in more than 70 U.S. cities, calling on your country to release this husband, father and servant of God. I join them by respectfully asking you to release Pastor Saeed Abedini from prison.”

Naghmeh Abedini, an Idaho resident and the wife of Pastor Abedini, also appealed directly with President Rouhani’s UN delegation, when they crossed paths unexpectedly in their New York City hotel lobby. Mrs. Abedini testified in June before the United Nations Human Rights Council, stating, “My husband has broken no Iranian law…. He simply exercised his fundamental rights that Iran has acknowledged before this body that it would uphold. Iran has kept Saeed imprisoned because he believes in forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ and that whoever accepts this forgiveness of sin can be reconciled to the God of peace and love. This is the God of peace we are all searching for.”

Dr. Frank Wright, NRB President & CEO, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year 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 theU.S.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: September 27, 2013

Latest News

Senator Roy Blunt Receives NRB Faith & Freedom Award

At its annual Capitol Hill Media Summit this week, NRB presented the 2015 Faith & Freedom Award to Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO).

Commissioner Pai Addresses NRB President’s Council

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai addressed the NRB President’s Council at its annual Capitol Hill Media Summit this week.

Leading Senator Pushes Against FCC Exclusivity Plan

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who may well become the Senate Democrat Leader in the next Congress, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week urging him to reverse course on a move to eliminate network non­duplication and syndication exclusivity rules.

Focus on the Family’s 'Plugged In' Switches to Daily Format

Focus on the Family’s Plugged In feature, anchored by veteran culture analyst Bob Waliszewski, has switched to a daily minute-long format, expanding from two days to every weekday.

'The Book' Launches on 300+ Radio Outlets Nationwide

The Book, a new feature program from Museum of the Bible, launched this week on a record number of stations, reaching a million listeners in 42 states, plus the District of Columbia and Guam.

Invest in the Future of Christian Media and Your Organization! Sponsor iNRB!

For those who want to invest in and gain exposure in front of the next generation of Christian media professionals, there are unique opportunities available through the intercollegiate arm of NRB.

Millions Unite for The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem

Millions of Christians united globally for The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem (DPPJ) this past Sunday, including the hundreds gathered in the historic Christ Church in the Old City of Jerusalem

Newton Media Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Founded in 1995 by Steve Newton, who desired to provide better media service for clients in both the faith-based and DRTV space, Newton Media has grown significantly over the years with offices now in Chesapeake, VA; Dallas, TX; and Cave Creek, AZ.

Constitutionality of Internet Authority Transfer Questioned

Four key Members of Congress are asking questions about the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s plan to transition Internet oversight authority to a private stakeholder group.

Librarian of Congress Exits

Late last week, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington made a surprise announcement that he intended to resign his post effective September 30 rather than at the end of the year, as he had declared in June.

More News