The Iranian president’s proposed conditions for freeing four Americans held by the rogue Islamic regime are “absurd and insulting,” charges a legal team working to free Christian pastor Saeed Abedini.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told CNN over the weekend that 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.”
“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,” Rouhani said.
Rouhani, who was in the U.S. to visit the United Nations, spoke as Abedini reached the third anniversary of his arrest and jailing for his Christian activities in Iran. He had been traveling in the country for his orphanage work when he was arrested.
His wife, Nagmeh Abedini, and two young children have not seen him since, although his parents, who are in Iran, occasionally are allowed to visit.
In an interview with Fox News, Nagmeh Abedini said her husband is a “hostage.”
“My husband has broken no laws,” she said.
She described the Iranian regime as the same as that of the 1970s, when Islamists took dozens of Americans at the U.S. Embassy there hostage and held them for months.
See her comments to Fox News:
She said she couldn’t trust anything Iran says until her husband is back on American soil.
She earlier told CNN: “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.”
The American Center for Law and Justice, which has worked on the pastor’s case, said Rouhani’s demand “absurd and insulting.”
“As Iran’s president prepares to address the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York – on American soil – now is the time to garner goodwill on the world stage and release the wrongfully imprisoned Americans,” ACLJ said.
Three other Americans also are being held in Iran.
ACLJ said it is “time for the U.N. to directly engage and urge Iran to release these wrongfully imprisoned U.S. citizens and allow them to return home – especially pastor Saeed.”
The other three are Jason Rezaian, accused of espionage; Ammir Hekmati, a former Marine; and Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent.
WND reported when world-renowned evangelist Franklin Graham warned President Obama before he reached a nuclear deal with Iran to be mindful of the American hostages.
In a Facebook post, Graham said: “President Obama is heralding his nuclear deal with Iran as ‘another chapter in the pursuit of a more helpful and more hopeful world.’ I don’t think so. Iran has a history of funding terrorism around the world, and they are Israel’s worst enemy.”
Graham said the deal hurts Israel and other U.S. allies, and he wondered why Obama didn’t take advantage of the bargaining table to win the release of four U.S. hostages held by Tehran.
“We are alienating our decades-long allies and cozying up to their enemies and ours,” Graham wrote. “And Donald J. Trump was exactly right when he said, ‘We have four prisoners over there. We should have said, ‘Let the prisoners out.’ One of these prisoners is our friend, pastor Saeed Abedini, and I haven’t heard the names of any of these four U.S. citizens mentioned in the negotiations with Iran. Some are calling this deal a potential death sentence for the state of Israel.”