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When U.S. officials negotiated an interim nuclear deal with Iran, they left out one very important detail – release of the American pastor imprisoned and tortured in the Islamic republic for more than a year.
Nagmah Abedini, the wife of imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini, says she is very disappointed by the U.S.-Iranian nuclear deal that left her husband in prison.
But she told WND in an interview she is grateful for intervention from another source.
Flamboyant billionaire Donald Trump has taken up the cause for the American pastor jailed in Iran for his Christian work there.
Trump tweeted today: “How does Obama rationalize giving Iran $8B in sanction relief when a Christian pastor is being tortured in an Iranian prison?”
His message followed another one posted yesterday only hours after the Obama administration announced a six-month deal with Iran over its nuclear program and sanctions against the rogue regime.
Then, Trump asked: “Why didn’t Obama, as part of the negotiation, free the Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini?”
Nagmeh Abedini told WND she is delighted by Trump’s intervention.
“I am very happy to hear that he is doing this, because this is the first example of anyone outside of the legal and political areas speaking out,” she said. “I hope that more people like him will speak out.”
She said she would like to arrange a meeting to thank Trump.
“I would very much like to meet him and thank him for what he has done in bringing awareness to this issue,” she told WND. “Every voice counts and especially voices like Mr. Trump’s. I’m just thankful he’s using his voice to speak out against this injustice.
“I would thank Mr. Trump for Saeed and for my kids,” she said.
The arrangement with Iran calls for the U.S. to free up $8 billion of frozen Iranian assets. However, analysts are still debating the merits of the deal in terms of U. S. policy and national security interests.
Tiffany Barrans, an overseas specialist for the American Center for Law and Justice, said the deal accomplished little for the U.S.
She said Americans need to ensure their representatives are engaged in the issue of Abedini’s imprisonment.
“Every member of Congress needs to stand up and call for pastor Saeed’s release in every speech they given on the floor of the House and the Senate,” Barrans said.
“Every American needs to call their representatives and demand they call on the administration to call on Iran to release pastor Abedini.”
Nagmeh Abedini believes U.S. omission of her husband’s release from the agreement is sending the wrong signal.
“It shows the Iranian government that human rights issues aren’t important to the United States,” she said.
Nagmeh said she was “completely dismayed that [her husband] wasn’t even mentioned.”
“I would have thought they would have at least mentioned him at some point,” she said. “But they completely neglected him. This means that he has been abandoned by our government.”
Negmah Abedini said her husband’s life is in danger every day that he remains in prison.
“It means he likely won’t be home for Christmas, and we missed the best chance to bring him home.”
WND reported last week that Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., an advocate for persecuted Christians, says Americans need to be actively involved in seeking Abedini’s release.
“Are people praying for pastor Abedini? Are they sending letters to the president asking for his release?” Wolf asked. “Pray, write, contact President Obama and contact Secretary [of State John] Kerry.
“This is a time that the American people have an obligation to speak out and urge the Obama administration to be more forceful in their advocacy,” he said.
The American pastor has been imprisoned in Iran since September 2012, enduring beatings and torture for his faith.
Earlier, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., led an effort by politicians and human rights groups to push the U.S. government to make the fight against Christian persecution a policy priority, including increased pressure on Iran to free Abedini.
In what was a bipartisan move, 23 U. S. senators sent Obama a letter asking him to step up pressure on Iran to release Abedini.
In a statement, the American Center for Law and Justice said the letter is further evidence of the Senate’s commitment to Abedini’s freedom.
“Led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the letter calls pastor Saeed’s transfer a potential ‘death sentence’ and urges President Obama to immediately speak out for his freedom. Now nearly a quarter of the U.S. Senate is urging action from the U.S. government on pastor Saeed’s behalf,” ACLJ said.
In a recent speech, Paul said he believes there’s an all-out war against Christianity, and he wants the U.S. government to focus on fighting against persecution.
Paul told WND in an interview that the people can play a major role in bringing the issue to the government’s attention. He said his first goal is to raise awareness of the issue.
“It’s important to acknowledge that there is a problem. There have been many deaths in a couple of dozen of countries of Christians who were killed by followers of radical Islam,” Paul said.
“These Muslims are seeing the cause for their actions to be based on their interpretation of their religion.”
WND also recently reported Abedini had been moved to the Rajai Shahr prison, a more dangerous facility than the Evin Prison where he was previously held.