Pastor Saeed Abedini Won’t Be Set Free Until the US First Releases 19 Iranian Criminals, Says President Rouhani

Profile: Saeed Abedini (02) feature

(Photo: ACLJ.org) Pastor Saeed Abedini, his wife Naghmeh and his two children in this undated family photo.

Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini, has slammed the apparent offer by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to free her husband in exchange for releasing Iranian prisoners being held in the United States. Naghmeh argued that her husband is not “collateral” to be treated as such.”My husband is not collateral. He is a father and a man who broke no law. Yet Iran is treating him like a pawn in a game of chess. President Rouhani’s demand that America release 19 criminals in exchange for his consideration of releasing individuals like my husband, imprisoned solely for his faith, demonstrates that the Iran of today is no different than the Iran who took Americans hostage during the Iranian revolution,” Naghmeh Abedini said.

“The environment is ripe for Iran to demonstrate it is ready to re-enter the global market and international scene of diplomats; it is time to show its good will, to change its image from one of a pariah to a member of the global society who will protect fundamental rights,” she added.

Rouhani, who has been pressured by leaders around the world to free the American pastor, was asked about the issue in an interview with CNN on Sunday.

He suggested that the only way Abedini and other imprisoned Americans are going to be set free is if the U.S. government agrees to reach out with the same gesture to imprisoned Iranians.

“If the Americans take the appropriate steps and set [a number of Iranians in the United States who are imprisoned] free, certainly the right environment will be open and the right circumstances will be created for us to do everything within our power and our purview to bring about the swiftest freedom for the Americans held in Iran as well,” Rouhani said.

“If the Americans take the appropriate actions vis-a-vis Iranian citizens who are being imprisoned here, then the right atmosphere and environment will be created for reciprocal action perhaps,” he added.

The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Naghmeh and the couple’s two children in the U.S., called the demand “absurd and insulting,” and said that Iran is treating Abedini as a “hostage for ransom.”

Abedini has been in prison now for three years, serving an eight year sentence. He has faced beatings and threats behind bars, and has often been denied the medical attention that he needs.

Abedini has even been threatened that his sentence will be extended.

“The interrogators threatened that Saeed will face new criminal charges. They claimed Saeed has connections with anti-government groups and has made statements and taken actions against the government of Iran. Saeed denied all of these allegations, and once again asserted that he is apolitical and that he has never threatened the security of, made any statements against, or taken any action against the government of Iran,” the ACLJ said in a report last week.

by Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter | September 29, 2015 | Source: christianpost.com"Pastor Saeed Abedini Won't Be Set Free Until the US First Releases 19 Iranian Criminals, Says President Rouhani"

1,000 days A Milestone Passes as Saeed Abedini Still Awaits Release in Iranian Prison

International Christian Concern (ICC) (01) feature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

American citizen and Iranian pastor, Saeed Abedini, has been in prison for over 1,000 days now for his faith in Jesus and activities as a Christian

pastor-saeed-abedinis-wife-says-despite-threats-her-husband-refuses-to-deny-christ
 06/25/2015 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) –
International Christian Concern (ICC) continues to call for the release of Iranian American pastor Saeed Abedini. He has been imprisoned in Iran since September 2012 where he has suffered intense physical and psychological torture.

  As the United States and other Western countries are negotiating with Iran regarding its nuclear program, the continued confinement of Saeed, along with three other Americans, raises serious concerns about the trustworthiness of Iran’s negotiations.

Saeed Abedini was imprisoned on September 26, 2012. On the morning of January 27, 2013, Pastor Saeed stood before Judge Pir-Abassi in Tehran to receive his verdict from a show trial. He was convicted of “undermining national security” for his work among house churches in Iran from 2000 to 2005 “Mr. Abedini’s attorney had only one day (January 21) to present his defense, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of Mr. Abedini’s trial,” State Department representative Darby Holladay reported shortly after the trial.

Naghmeh Abedini, Saeed’s wife, appeared before the House of Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this month and pleaded for a greater effort to be made on behalf of her husband. That same day, House Resolution 233, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-MI), was passed with a vote of 391-0. The resolution calls for the immediate release of imprisoned U.S. citizens and the disclosure of any information regarding U.S. citizens that have disappeared within the borders of Iran.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has been advocating on behalf of Saeed for some time and recently collected over 1 million unique signatures for Saeed in a social media campaign entitled #SaveSaeed. The global campaign on behalf of Pastor Saeed has brought his case before Congress, the White House, the United Nations and other world leaders.

Saeed’s father was able to visit his son in prison on Wednesday, June 24 and carried out a message of hope. Having just spent his 1,000th day in prison, Saeed gave his father a message to share. “He wanted us to know that for 1000 days he has experienced utter darkness and has died, yet for 1,001, he has been resurrected with Christ,” Naghmeh said. “For 1,001 days he has learned to forgive over and over and over again. That for 1001 days he has chosen Christ over what they have tried to force on him and he has stood on His faith in Jesus Christ despite the pressures, tortures and threats.”

Saeed has faced intense abuse these past 1,001 days. “He has been tortured, especially the first few months he was beaten badly when internal bleeding started,” Naghmeh testified at the hearing on June 2nd. Time is of the essence, despite Saeed’s resolute endurance. Saeed has experienced both physical and psychological abuse in prison. He has been put in and out of solitary confinement repeatedly and has suffered beatings at the hands of prison guards and even fellow inmates for his faith.

The release of Saeed and other U.S. citizens imprisoned in Iran is of upmost importance as the June 30th deadline for Iranian nuclear deal approaches. If President Rouhani wishes to have constructive interaction with the international community, he must take into account the demands of Resolution 233 and the unjust imprisonment of American citizens for nothing more than exercising their fundamental rights. International pressure should continue and expand on behalf of these U.S. citizens.

Organizations and governments have advocated on behalf of Pastor Saeed, though more remains to be done. Secretary of State John Kerry first called for his release on March 22, 2013 and again on July 28, 2014 in addition to citing Saeed’s case in the U.S. State Department’s most recent report on international religious freedom. President Obama mentioned the case in his first phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani but additional steps have not been taken, despite international pressure.

ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, Todd Daniels, said, “The continued imprisonment of Saeed Abedini on charges of threatening Iran’s national security for meeting together with those who share his faith demonstrates the fragility of the Iranian regimes hold on society and the lack of a true commitment to basic rights and freedoms. The ability to hold a religious belief, to meet together with others who share that belief, and to live publicly in accordance with it is among the most fundamental of freedoms. Iran continues to regularly violate that, not only in the case of Saeed Abedini but for the dozens of other Iranian Christians who are also suffering in Iran’s prisons. As a citizen of the United States, President Obama and his administration should exert the utmost effort to see him returned to his family. As a country that claims to promote religious freedom as a core value of our foreign policy, the United States must boldly condemn those who would imprison its citizens simply for their religious beliefs.”


For interviews, contact Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East: RM-ME@persecution.org

You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.

International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #241, Washington, D.C. 20006
www.persecution.org | E-mail: icc@persecution.org

Media Contact:
Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East
RM-ME@persecution.org

Wife Testifies to Congress of a Family Torn Apart by Imprisonment in Iran

International Christian Concern (ICC) (01) feature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Naghmeh Abedini addresses Congress regarding her husband, Saeed Abedini, sentenced to eight years in prison for his faith in Jesus and activities as a Christian

06/02/2015 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern)
International Christian Concern (ICC) continues to call for the release of Iranian American Pastor Saeed Abedini. He has been imprisoned in Iran since September 2012 where he has suffered intense physical and psychological torture. As the United States and other Western countries are negotiating with Iran regarding its nuclear program, the continued confinement of Saeed, along with three other Americans, raises serious concerns about the trustworthiness of Iran’s negotiations. Prior to reaching any final agreement with Iran, the House Foreign Affairs Committee is investigating the continued detention of Aericans in Iran.

On July 28, 2012, Saeed Abedini was taken off a bus in northern Iran and held under house arrest until September 26, 2012 where he was taken to prison. Then, on the morning of January 27, 2013, Pastor Saeed stood before Judge Pir-Abassi in Tehran to receive his verdict from a show trial.He was convicted of “undermining national security” for his work among house churches in Iran from 2000-2005 ” Mr. Abedini’s attorney had only one day (January 21) to present his defense, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of Mr. Abedini’s trial,” State Department representative Darby Holladay reported shortly after the trial.

“My message is to show a glimpse of the pain we go through as a family torn apart,” Naghmeh told ICC prior to her address to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Saeed has now been imprisoned for 980 days in Iran. “My children have lost both their father to a prison in Iran, and also their mother as I travel to advocate on behalf of my husband,” Naghmeh said in her testimony. “It is hard to go back [to] them without solid answers, I hope this will be the time that we can bring Saeed home,” she continued.

What has sustained me through this and what I hope to share before Congress, Naghmeh told ICC, is “the message of the Gospel, of how a relationship with God (not religion) has gotten us through this.”

Saeed has faced intense abuse during his imprisonment. “He has been tortured, especially the first few months he was beaten badly when internal bleeding started,” Naghmeh testified. “He refuses to deny his Christian faith; they are putting him in and out of solitary to break him. I’m not worried just about his physical pain, but his psychological. They want, when they release Saeed, to release a very sick person,” Naghmeh said. “Time is of the essence.”

Also joining Naghmeh Abedini in the hearing were Mr. Ali Rezaian, Brother of Jason Rezaian, Ms. Sarah Hekmati, Sister of Amir Hekmati, and Mr. Daniel Levinson, Son of Robert Levinson, all testifying of the pain that they have experienced as family members of those detained in Iran.

Opening the hearing, Committee Chairman Edward Royce (R-CA), told them, “This Committee stands in solidarity with each of your families. We can’t imagine the living hell that your families are going through. And we share your anger and frustration with the position you have been put in. Immediately after our hearing today, the Committee will be passing a resolution that calls for Iran to release all detained U.S. citizens immediately and provide information it possesses regarding any who have disappeared within its borders.”

In House Resolution 233, sponsored by Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-MI), some 145 members of Congress have cosponsored the resolution calling on Iran to release these U.S. citizens will now proceed out of committee to the full House of Representatives, but even more important is that the Obama Administration and its negotiators take the lives of these citizens into account before pursuing other ends.

Organizations and departments across the world are advocating on behalf of Pastor Saeed. Secretary of State John Kerry first called for his release on March 22, 2013 and again on July 28, 2014 in addition to citing Saeed’s case in the U.S. State Department’s most recent report on international religious freedom. President Obama mentioned the case in his first phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani but additional steps have not been taken, despite international pressure.

ICC’s Regional Manager, Todd Daniels, said, “We echo the call of Naghmeh Abedini before Congress that time is of the essence. Saeed Abedini is in prison solely for his Christian faith and languishes in an Iranian prison because he has refused to recant. The protection of American citizens ought to be of first priority in the concerns of the White House and it is essential that President Obama insists on the freedom of Saeed and the other Americans unjustly imprisoned. We continue to call for the Iranian regime to immediately release Saeed Abedini.

His only crime is his faith in Jesus Christ and that he met together with others who share that faith, activities that are legal under the Iranian constitution. President Rouhani can follow through on his promises of a new Iran by showing respect for the fundamental rights of all people, and the United States should demand this from them before further negotiations take place.”


For interviews, contact Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East:
RM-ME@persecution.org

You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.

International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #241, Washington, D.C. 20006
www.persecution.org | E-mail: icc@persecution.org

Media Contact:
Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East
RM-ME@persecution.org

Obama Abandons Pastor Saeed Abedini and three other American citizens. A Decision that is ‘Despicable, Outrageous’

Iran: Obama Bad Deal (01)

 

Saeed Abedini-THUMBPresident Barack Obama’s administration has warned that it will veto a proposed amendment that would require the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini and three other American citizens held prisoners in Iran before any final nuclear deal agreement is reached.

by Stoyan Zaimov
The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini’s family, called the admittance “despicable” and “outrageous.””That is simply unbelievable. Refusing to discuss the Americans being held hostage by Iran at the bargaining table and rejecting any congressional attempt to make any deal with Iran contingent on the release of the Americans is unacceptable. It’s quite frankly appalling,” the law group wrote in an update on Thursday.

This is despicable. This is outrageous. And it is an insult to the captive Americans and their families,
it added.

The response is aimed at comments made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest to an ABC News reporter asking about the Corker Bill and amendments being debated by the U.S. Senate that would require Iran to release the imprisoned Americans before any sanctions are lifted.

obama-bad-deal-01

The U.S., Iran, and several other Western nations reached a historic deal at the beginning of April, which is yet to be finalized, but promises to lift international sanctions on Iran in exchange for restricting its nuclear program.

The ACLJ has seen the negotiations as a vital opportunity for Obama to press Iran for the release of the Americans. The law group, which represents Abedini’s wife and two children in the U.S., has said that the pastor has been imprisoned for over two years and a half because of his Christian faith.

Obama has spoken out on a number of occasions for Abedini’s release, and visited with the pastor’s family in Boise, Idaho, earlier this year to tell them that the pastor’s freedom remains a “top priority” for his administration.

Naghmeh Abedini, the pastor’s wife, has said:

“Our government must not forget that Saeed is not being held by the reformists with whom they negotiate but by radical hardliners who oppose what he represents – a Christian convert and an U.S. citizen”

She added:

We cannot leave my husband’s fate in the hands of these radicals. I implore our government to remember the urgency of bringing Saeed home to our family.

The ACLJ has argued, however, that the evidence suggests Obama’s promises cannot be trusted.

obama-bad-deal-01“The Obama administration has refused to ask for the release of Pastor Saeed and the other imprisoned Americans at the bargaining table. And that is a tremendous mistake,” ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow wrote last week.

Over 190,000 people have signed an online petition started by the law group insisting that there should be no nuclear deal with Iran unless Abedini is freed.

by Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter | May 1, 2015  |Original Source: christianpost.com  "Obama Abandons Pastor Abedini, Would Veto Bill That Requires Iran Release Him for Nuke Deal Approval; ACLJ Calls Decision 'Despicable, Outrageous'"

Two Years After His Conviction, We Are Still Waiting for Saeed

International Christian Concern (ICC) (01) feature
International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #241, Washington, D.C. 20006
Media Contact:
Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Two Years After His Conviction, We Are Still Waiting for Saeed

ICC Calls for the Release of Saeed Abedini on the Anniversary of His Conviction

1/27/2015 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) is partnering with Christians across the world to call out for the release of American-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini. January 27, 2015 marks the two year anniversary of Pastor Saeed’s conviction for allegedly undermining the national security of Iran through his involvement in house churches. On this date, he was condemned to a sentence of eight years in Iran’s Evin Prison which the American Center for Law and Justice has referred to as a “virtual death sentence.”
On the morning of January 27, 2013, Pastor Saeed stood before Judge Pir-Abassi in Tehran to receive his verdict. Shortly after the trial, State Department representative Darby Holladay reported that, “Mr. Abedini’s attorney had only one day (January 21) to present his defense, so we remain deeply concerned about the fairness and transparency of Mr. Abedini’s trial.”
Accounts of the abuse that Pastor Saeed has faced during his imprisonment to date have been numerous and disturbing. Physical abuse received in prison caused internal injuries that forced him to be hospitalized, but even still he did not receive the needed care. In a letter written to his family, Saeed stated that his nurses refused to touch him or give him “pain medication that they would give other prisoners because [he] was unclean” due to his faith. He reports that there were nights that he was unable to sleep due to the intense pain and that he did not recognize his own appearance when he saw a mirror within the prison hospital.
Despite the fact that the Iranian government reported in January of 2013 that Pastor Saeed would be released, the empty promises have yet to come to fruition. Early in his detainment, after the regime said he would be released soon, His wife, Naghmeh Abedini said that “The promise of his release was a lie. We should not trust the empty words or promises put out by the Iranian government.” She went on to say that she will “now pursue every effort, turn every rock, and not stop until Saeed is safely on American soil.”
Organizations and departments across the world are advocating on behalf of Pastor Saeed. Secretary of State John Kerry first called for his release on March 22, 2013 and again on July 28, 2014 in addition to citing Saeed’s case in the U.S. State Department’s most recent report on international religious freedom. President Obama mentioned the case in his first phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani but additional steps have not been taken, despite international pressure. The UN Working Group has documented Saeed’s case closely and concluded that “the adequate remedy would be to release Mr. Abedini and accord him an enforceable right to compensation.” On September 16, 2014, the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention released a report condemning the imprisonment and calling Iran to immediately and unconditionally release Pastor Saeed.
ICC’s Regional Manager, Todd Daniels, said, 
“We continue to call for the Iranian regime to immediately release Saeed Abedini. His only crime is his faith in Jesus Christ and that he met together with others who share that faith, activities that are legal under the Iranian constitution. Furthermore, his arrest came after the Iranian government had given him permission to travel to Iran to carry out humanitarian work in the country that he loves. It was while doing this work of establishing an orphanage that he was arrested, and two years ago today convicted of crimes against the state. He continues to languish behind bars and his wife, two young children, and family remain heart-broken as he is held as a violent criminal serving an eight year prison sentence..”
For interviews, contact Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East:

 

# # #

You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.

Iranian prison Ps. Saeed Abedini

Profile: Saeed Abedini (02) feature
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASETwo Years, but Still Praying for Pastor Saeed
 
ICC to Join Thousands in Calling for the Release of Imprisoned American-Iranian Pastor
09/19/2014 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern– International Christian Concern (ICC) joins with thousands of Christians around the world to call for the release of American-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini. September 26, 2014 marks two years since Pastor Saeed was taken to an Iranian prison. He is serving an eight year prison sentence for his work among Iranian house churches in the early 2000s. One week from today, thousands are expected to gather at more than 460 prayer vigils in over 30 countries spanning the globe to mark the two year anniversary of his imprisonment.
“Saeed was encouraged to know that so many cities and countries are gathering for a prayer vigil to remember him and the persecuted church on September 26,” Naghmeh, Saeed’s mother, said following her recent visit mother to the prison where he is being held in Karaj, Iran. “Thank you for all who are standing with us and the persecuted church. Thank you for bringing a smile to Saeed’s face during such hard times.”
Since his imprisonment, Saeed has been subjected to long periods of solitary confinement and physical abuse. He is believed to be suffering from internal injuries that continue to go untreated and are causing him severe pain.

Saeed’s case has been raised before numerous international groups including the UN Human Rights Council which has released a report documenting his arbitrary detention. “The report details how Pastor Saeed was detained in Iran while finalizing the details of a government approved orphanage in July 2012, was subjected to a sham trial on charges related solely to his religious beliefs, and has spent nearly two years behind bars, enduring periods of solitary confinement and brutal beatings, because of his Christian faith,” Jordan Sekulow of theAmerican Center for Law and Justice said of the report adopted by the working group on Arbitrary Detention at its August 2013 session.

On September 27, 2013, one day after prayer vigils marking the first anniversary of Saeed’s imprisonment, President Obama raised Saeed’s case in his historic phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The Iranian President will again be in the United States next week for the UN General Assembly. While no meeting is currently planned for the two presidents, Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to meet with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, presenting an opportunity for the Secretary to directly address Saeed’s case with his Iranian counterpart.

As U.S. and Iranian officials continue to negotiate regarding Iran’s nuclear program ahead of the November 24 deadline, the freedom of American citizens who are unjustly imprisoned in Iran should certainly be part of the concerns for the United States.

For times and locations of the prayer vigils visit: www.beheardproject.com

Todd Daniels, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “We are privileged to join with thousands who will exercise their fundamental right of religious freedom by gathering to pray together, an act that, for Saeed Abedini and many more in Iran and around the world, would put them in prison. In a time when Christians around the world are facing increasing persecution, the church cannot remain silent. We urge Christians across the United States and around the world to gather and raise their voices to God on behalf of Saeed and others facing similar abuses and to raise their voice before world leaders and call for the freedom for all people to worship freely without fear of imprisonment or persecution. For Secretary Kerry, we urge him to directly address Saeed’s case with Minister Zarif and ask him to follow through on offers of clemency that he said may be possible for Saeed.”

For interviews, contact Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East:
# # #
You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.
 
International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #241, Washington, D.C. 20006
Media Contact:
Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East

 

Why Does Our Daddy Need to Be in Prison for Loving Jesus?

Profile: Saeed Abedini (02) feature

: Kids Send Emotional Video Message to Obama

“Dear President Obama, please help bring my daddy home,” Rebekka, 7, and Jacob, 6, ask in the short clip, as the two describe — through kids’ lenses — the immense pain and loss they’re feeling.
The children beg Obama to step in to help Abedini return to the family residence in Idaho, with Jacob telling the camera that his “heart cries” over his father’s ongoing plight. by theblaze.com Full Article 

Pastor Saeed Beaten …

Profile: Saeed Abedini (02) feature
 
International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #241, Washington, D.C. 20006
Media Contact:
Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pastor Saeed Beaten and Returned to Prison
05/20/2014 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American, was severely beaten and forcibly transferred from the hospital where he’d been receiving treatment back to prison. The transfer came without warning and again raises concern for his safety as he is returned back to prison.
The transfer came entirely without warning to family members inside Iran. They confirmed that Saeed was beaten at the hospital and then forcibly returned to prison. “The reason for the transfer is unclear and according to family members, one of the guards who was involved in the transfer mentioned the Iranian nuclear talks as a possible motive,” saidJordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice.
The latest round of negotiations between Iran and six world powers (known as the P5+1) concluded on Friday in Vienna. Neither side left the negotiations positive about the talks. Iranian and American officials left the talks saying that “progress was slow and difficult, with serious gaps between the two sides on basic issues,” according to the New York Times.
There have been serious concerns that Saeed, as an American citizen, would become a bargaining chip in these negotiations. While relations between Iran and the United States are at the highest they have been since 1979, there remains deep distrust on both sides. For the life of an American citizen to be caught in the balance is extremely troubling.
“This is getting so complicated,” Naghmeh Abedini, Saeed’s wife, told ICC. “I think they are keeping him to see how the negotiations go. Which makes all of this very scary to think about,” she continued.  
Saeed had been moved to the hospital in March to receive much-needed treatment for internal injuries he has suffered while in prison. Saeed has been imprisoned for 603 days. He was convicted on January 27, 2013 and sentenced to eight years in prison for “crimes against the national security of Iran” for his earlier involvement in the Iranian house churches. He had returned to the country with government approval to work on a humanitarian project when he was detained.
Please join me in prayer and fasting. Saeed is not doing well. He collapsed at the hospital after a severe beating,” Naghmeh posted on social media this morning. “Without Jesus and your prayers I could not continue. Please keep Saeed and our family in your prayers,” she continued.  
Todd Daniels, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “The continued abuse and imprisonment of Saeed Abedini is just further demonstration of Iran’s systemic violation of fundamental human rights. We continue to urge for President Obama and Secretary of State John Ker
ry to stand up for the rights of an American citizen who is imprisoned solely for his faith and to secure his release prior to meeting any additional Iranian demands. It is urgent that the church continue to pray for Saeed, Naghmeh, and their family and to continue to raise its voice to call for his release.”   
For interviews, contact Todd Daniels, Regional Manager for the Middle East:RM-ME@persecution.org

# # #

You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church.  For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.