Members of the European Parliament have called on the rogue Islamic regime in Iran to release American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been jailed there for more than a year over his Christian faith.
“The fate of Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran is also a matter of deep concern to MEPS, who called on the government to exonerate and release him immediately,” the organization posted in an online statement.
“This action signifies an important step forward in raising this issue to a new level – keeping pressure on Iran and keeping Pastor Abedini in the news. The resolution is already generating news coverage in Europe and the Middle East,” according to officials with the American Center for Law and Justice, which has been working to get the American pastor freed.
“We are very grateful for the support of those members of European Parliament who are standing for religious liberty and freedom and demanding that Iran release Pastor Abedini immediately.”
The legal team said, “Our team at the ACLJ, along with our European affiliate – the European Centre for Law and Justice – has been meeting with members of the European Parliament (MEPs) detailing the facts surrounding the illegal imprisonment of Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen.”
The parliament’s statement also noted that Iran should “take steps to ensure that full respect is shown for the right to freedom of religion or belief, including by ensuring that its legislation and practices fully conform to Article 18 of the ICCPR.”
The ACLJ statement said, “As Iran continues to try and build diplomatic relations with western countries, releasing Pastor Saeed, who has been wrongfully imprisoned for more than one year in Iran’s Evin Prison, would be a significant confidence building measure.”
The organization reports more than 625,000 people around the world have signed on to a petition urging the release of the pastor, and nearly 170,000 have written a letter directly to Iran’s president calling for his freedom.
Abedini’s wife recently said she’s grateful that President Obama recently – even if belatedly – asked for the release of her imprisoned husband, but vows continued pressure is needed to bring him home.
Naghmeh Abedini said Obama’s recent request was a positive development in her husband Saeed’s saga.
“This is the most encouraging news I have heard since Saeed was imprisoned one year ago. I am very grateful to President Obama for standing up for Saeed and for the other Americans who are held captive in Iran,” Abedini said. “This development is truly an answer to prayer. I urge [Iranian] President Rouhani, as I have done throughout this week, to release Saeed so he can return to our home and our family in the United States. In recent days, Iran has released 80 prisoners being held because of their beliefs. I pray that we can add Saeed to that list very soon.”
In an exclusive interview with WND, Abedini said that she was grateful for everything that has been done to free her husband, but she’s deeply focused on her next steps.
“I plan to keep up the pressure. I plan to take this to the pope, who’s approached governments, and I plan to continue the pressure and prayer. I believe that will bring about Saeed home before our daughter’s eighth birthday,” Abedini said. “She’s already had two birthdays without him, and I hope she won’t have to have another one without him.”
Abedini believes her campaign of pressure on Iran got a boost from a letter she delivered to the Iranian delegation at the United Nations.
“I handed it to two individuals, and I believe one of them was the actual spokesperson for foreign affairs. When I handed it to them, they were very shocked that I approached them,” Abedini said. “I saw that they were actually reading it and they were all very interested in the letter.
“As I was leaving,” she continued, “I saw many in the delegation gathered around reading the letter, so I do believe that [Rouhani] saw it.”
Abedini also says that Pastor Saeed was a topic in the Iranian leader’s television interview.
“[Rouhani] was actually directly asked by Christiane Amanpour about Saeed in her television interview with him,” Abedini said. “In that instance, he could no longer deny knowing anything about Saeed’s imprisonment.”
Abedini believes the letter will test how seriously the Iranian president is about opening up Iran.
WND reported in August that the American Center for Law and Justice was pleased Secretary of State John Kerry has asked for Pastor Saeed’s freedom, but until recently, wondered about the silence from the White House.
ACLJ International Director Tiffany Barrans told WND the president had been too slow in demanding Pastor Saeed’s release.
“While Saeed is important enough for the secretary, Saeed’s freedom, and religious freedom in general, does not rate high on the president’s priorities,” Barrans said.
ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow says that while Nagmeh Abedini is continuing to work for Pastor Saeed’s release, his organization is also working toward the same goal.
“There have been vigils across the country and there was one in Washington. Member of Congress and member of the U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom joined us. The State Department has sent a representative to the vigil in Washington,” Sekulow said. “It was a combined happening in 17 countries around the world – vigils for Pastor Saeed.”
Sekulow said letters are also an important part of the ACLJ’s efforts to secure the pastor’s release.
“Just like Nagmeh gave her letter and Rev. [Billy] Graham took out the full page ad for a letter to the Iranian president while he was here, we’ve asked people to write letters through BeHeardProject.com. Our initial goal was 52,000 letters, a thousand letters for every week Saeed has been in prison,” Sekulow said. “But we beat that and then said 2,000 letters for each week, and we’ve hit over 113,000 letters that people have written appealing to the Iranian president for Pastor Saeed’s release.”