President Obama spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and expressed concern about a U.S. pastor who has been held in prison in Iran for a year.
In a 15-minute phone call that included other issues, President Obama expressed his concern about three American citizens who have been held within Iran — Robert Levinson, Saeed Abedini and Amir Hekmati — and noted U.S. interest in seeing them reunited with their families. Saeed Abedini, a pastor who has two children, was arrested while visiting his family last year.
Pastor Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, responded to the news.
“This is the most encouraging news I have heard since Saeed was imprisoned one year ago,” she said. “I am very grateful to President Obama for standing up for Saeed and for the other Americans who are held captive in Iran. This development is truly an answer to prayer. I urge President Rouhani, as I have done throughout this week, to release Saeed so he can return to our home and our family in the United States. In recent days, Iran has released 80 prisoners being held because of their beliefs. I pray that we can add Saeed to that list very soon.”
Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen, has done nothing wrong and is imprisoned simply because of his Christian faith.