The president has left behind four Americans in Iran, despite the years of negotiations by the Obama administration over the nuclear program being pursued by the Islamic Republic, and an attorney who has worked on one of the cases is outraged.
“The agreement reached between the United States and Iran is ‘unconscionable’ because it leaves Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen, behind – imprisoned in Iran because of his Christian faith,” wrote Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice.
His group has worked extensively to get Saeed Abedini, jailed in Iran since 2012 because of his Christianity, returned home.
The plight of three other Americans in captivity in Iran also was ignored in the nuclear discussions, which resulted in an agreement announced Tuesday.
“It is unconscionable that the Obama administration would sign a deal with Iran without securing the freedom of Pastor Saeed, who has been imprisoned for nearly three years simply because of his Christian faith,” Sekulow said.
President Obama “told the Abedini family face-to-face that he considered the release of Pastor Saeed a ‘top priority,'” Sekulow said.
“How could that be a ‘top priority’ when a deal is reached and Pastor Saeed is left behind? What happened today makes a bad deal even worse. We will now focus our attention on convincing Congress to reject this deal.”
In a statement released by the ACLU, Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh Abedini, said: “I plead with Congress to ensure that my husband, an American citizen, is not left behind. With the announcement of a deal and yet silence as to the fate of Saeed and the other Americans held hostage in Iran, their fate lies now in the hands of Congress.
“I plead with each member of Congress to review the deal with our family at the forefront of their thoughts. Congress holds the key to bringing my husband home, to returning the father to my children. My children have desperately missed the loving embrace of their father for the last three years of their lives. They have grown up almost half of their lives without their father. Please help us ensure the remainder of their childhood includes both a mother and a father.”
Other Americans remaining in captivity in Iran are Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post bureau chief; former Marine Amir Hekmati; and retired FBI agent Robert Levinson.
Critics say Obama is ignoring his maxim that no man should be “left behind,” which he used to defend his decision to turn over five Taliban prisoners for one U.S. soldier, Bowe Bergdahl, who now is facing charges of desertion.
Sekulow wrote of the new nuclear agreement: “But the deal is not final. Congress has a voice, a choice to approve this deal and abandon the Americans or to reject the deal and demand Iran free the Americans.
“We’re working directly in Congress, demanding members of Congress vote to reject the deal. Already the House of Representatives and Senate have voted unanimously to demand Iran release Pastor Saeed and the other wrongfully imprisoned Americans. Now those same members of Congress will have the opportunity to reject any deal until those Americans are freed,” he said.
Sekulow appeared Tuesday on Fox News, responding to questions about the issue:
“I’ll take it a step further,” Sekulow said in a Fox News interview. “I think the State Department in this matter has been AWOL, absent without leave.”
He continued: “I blame President Obama squarely. The idea that we have cut a nuclear deal with Iran and I will say the Islamic republic of Iran and did not secure the release of four Americans is absurd, it is wrong and look at the message it sends to the rest of the world. We leave our own behind.”
WND reported Bergdahl faced a charge of desertion.
An administration spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said of the swap for Bergdahl: “Was it worth it? Absolutely. We have a commitment to our men and women serving overseas, or in our military, defending our national security every day, that we will do everything we can to bring them home, and that’s what we did in this case.”
Western Christendom bows to Shia Islam, by Michele Bachmann