On Wednesday, United States President Barack Obama met with the wife of Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for over two years.
Obama has vowed to work on his release, in addition to the several other Americans unjustifiably imprisoned in Iran.
“The United States is concerned about the unjust detention of several Americans in Iran, including Mr. Abedini,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
According to Rawstory, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with his Iranian counterpart in the last 10 days about securing the release of Abedini, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati and Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian.
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Saaed Abedini is an Iranian-American pastor from Boise, Idaho, who was arrested in July, 2012 during a visit to Tehran where he was hoping to finalize plans for an orphanage he was helping build. Abedini was given an eight-year prison sentence during his visit.
Why? Abedini was sentenced for converting and advocating his Christian faith. He was transferred from Evin, a notorious political prison, to a more dangerous prison called Rajaei Shahr, and back to Evin. He has endured multiple beatings and has suffered multiple internal injuries due to the abuse and inhumane, barbaric and heartless conditions he is facing. After a year of suffering, he was finally given an opportunity to go to a hospital, only to return to the prison before getting enough treatment, writes Nicole Russell of the Federalist.
Abedini’s wife requested repeatedly to meet with President Obama, until being only granted minutes to finally meet with him on Wednesday. She requested that Obama stand up for injustice, defend the rights of American citizens, and demand her husband’s immediate release.
Obama was not in Idaho primarily to meet with Abedini’s wife. He was at the Boise State University making remarks to students pushing his “middle-class economics.”
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“I’ve got two years left in office, I’m not going to stop trying,” he told students.
Without a doubt, negotiating with Iran to release Abedini is easier said than done, but it is time for Washington, D.C. to make this a priority. The president needs to demand the immediate release of Abedini as well as other Americans who are unjustly imprisoned.
Freeing Abedini is not the only issue on President Obama’s agenda, but the freedom and justice of our own fellow Americans needs to be higher on that list. To sign the petition demanding justice for Abedini, click here.