Supporters of imprisoned pastor disappointed by Iran deal

Meredith Flynn —  July 16, 2015

NEWS | Imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini has become a key figure in news coverage surrounding the nuclear deal with Iran struck by President Barack Obama and other world leaders this week.

Image from a May 2012 YouTube video Saeed Abedini made before his imprisonment.

Image from a May 2012 YouTube video Saeed Abedini made before his imprisonment.

Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, expressed her disappointment that a deal was reached without securing the release of her husband and other Americans imprisoned in Iran. Mrs. Abedini’s legal representation, the American Center for Law and Justice, released a petition calling Congress to reject the deal, The Christian Post reports.

“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,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel at ACLJ, in a news release.

“President Obama told the Abedini family face-to-face that he considered the release of Pastor Saeed a ‘top priority.’ 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.”

Obama faced similar opposition in-person, when CBS News reporter Major Garrett asked him in a press conference why he is “content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?”

Calling that notion “nonsense,” the President said he previously met with the families of some of the imprisoned Americans and that connecting their release with the deal would have encouraged Iran to seek more concessions, CNN Money reported after the exchange.

Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd told Baptist Press, “While still learning more about this deal made with Iran, I stand appalled that we would make any kind of deal that would not demand the immediate release of the four Americans held hostage, including Pastor Saeed Abedini.

“Additionally, I am concerned for the safety of the people of Israel, America’s great ally. All of this calls the church to rise up and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as well as recommit ourselves to the evangelization of the world.”

Meredith Flynn


Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.