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Obama's hard promise to free Saeed Abedini

President Obama assured the Abedini family he would do everything in his power to secure Pastor Saeed’s release-

FUENTES Christianity Today WASHINGTON 28 DE ENERO DE 2015 22:00 h
Saeed Abedini Abedini´s children / archive

Hours after giving his seventh State of the Union address, President Barack Obama met in person with Naghmeh Abedini, an Idaho mother who has spent more than two years advocating for the freedom of her husband, Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini, jailed in Iran.

More than 100,000 people had signed a petition, sponsored by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), asking the President to let Naghmeh make a “personal appeal for her husband” during his visit today to Boise, Idaho. Obama met privately with her and her two children for about 10 minutes, reports Christianity Today.

“I am extremely thankful the President took the time to meet with our family and told us that securing the release of my husband is a top priority,” said Naghmeh Abedini, according to an ACLJ statement. “The President was focused and gracious—showing concern to me and my children. I know that this meeting could not have occurred without prayer, and I am grateful to the many people around the country and world who continue to pray for Saeed’s release.

"The President repeated his desire to do all that he can to bring Saeed home. That means the world to me and my children and has given me a renewed sense of hope,” she said.

According to the ACLJ Naghmeh told the President that her son, Jacob, had something to ask him. Jacob asked: "Mr. President, can you please bring daddy home for my birthday?" The President responded, "When is your birthday?" Jacob told him March 17th, when he will turn seven. The President said he will try very hard to bring his father home.


Naghmeh and Saeed / archive

After hearing last Friday that Obama would be traveling to Boise, where Naghmeh lives with the couple’s two children, she requested a meeting. “Such a meeting would go a long way in instilling faith that the leader of our country considers our sufferings important and that you are committed to reuniting our family,” Naghmeh wrote to Obama. The President had previously expressed concern for Saeed’s fate during a 2013 phone call with Hassan Rouhani, leader of Iran.

Since Saeed was first imprisoned in 2012, his release has also been requested byBilly Graham, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the United Nations. CT noted how efforts to "Save Saeed" were growing more numerous—and more interesting.

A convert from Islam to Christianity, Saeed made frequent trips to Iran and had been warned by the Muslim nation against his involvement with house churches; instead, he had returned to continue building a government-approved orphanage. While there, Saeed was pulled off a bus, charged with undermining national security, andsentenced to eight years in prison, which has resulted in torture and beatings as well as pressure to recant.

“Pastor Saeed has become the face of the persecuted Christian church worldwide, one of many Christians around the world who face imprisonment, beatings and even death for their faith,” said Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ's executive director.

Abedini is only one of at least 60 Christians in Iran—which contains between 200,000 and 750,000 Christians—currently in prison, according to Middle East Concern (MEC). Their plight was named one of the top 10 persecution stories of 2014 by Morning Star News.

Recently, several especially troubling charges against Iranian church leaders have been dropped.

In August, a pastor in the Church of Iran denomination was charged with “enmity against God,” which can carry the death sentence. He and two other Church of Iran leaders were also charged with "spreading corruption on Earth," which also carries the death sentence. Weeks later, the charges were downgraded to "action against national security" and "creating a network to overthrow the System.” Last month, after two of the men were acquitted, charges were dropped against the third. All the men have been released.

Open Doors International ranked Iran seventh in its 2015 watch list of countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian.





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