WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – Today Pastor Saeed Abedini turns 35 years old while a captive of Iran in Rajai Shahr Prison, a little more than 12 miles outside the capital Tehran.
He converted from Islam to Christianity and was working in the country to build an Iranian government-approved orphanage.
The father of two has spent two years and nine months as a hostage of the Shia government led by Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran and a Muslim cleric.
But now he and other Americans in Iran's jails are political captives of the United States, too.
Abedini, along with Jason Rezaian (9 months), Amir Hekmati (3 years, 8 months), and Robert 'Bob' Levinson (8 years, 2 months), are pawns of both countries as the president links his foreign policy legacy to forging a controversial nuclear weapons deal with Iran.
Although President Obama has promised the Abedini family to "try very hard" to free the persecuted pastor and that his release would be a "top priority," he has threatened to "certainly veto" legislative efforts to force release of Abedini and his fellow Americans. Indeed, White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest said the president would reject any measure "that made this nuclear deal contingent on Iran's release of those three American citizens."
Likewise, the president has failed to show any demonstrative effort like he exerted to free Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl, for whom five Taliban leaders were traded from Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, a prison for only the most dangerous of Islamic terrorists.
The editorial staff of the Christian Examiner has decided to take a stand and do our part to work for the release of Pastor Abedini and his fellow American prisoners.
Our digital news service is urging all Americans, especially fellow Believers, to join us today as part of a weekly effort to influence our government, as well as Iran's, for the release of Saeed Abedini and the other three Americans who also are being unlawfully jailed.
Likewise, partner with us to pray daily for these men.
We ask you, as we will, to call or write the following persons each Thursday to let them know those who are being persecuted in the name of Christ have not been forgotten, and that we care about our countrymen who are political prisoners, too.
President Barack Obama
Phone: (202) 456-1414
Secretary of State John Kerry
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran, or, Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran
(Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran, hosted by the Embassy of Pakistan)
Phone: (202) 965-4990, 4991, 4992, 4993, 4994, 4999