Obama fails to secure American pastor’s release from Iran, despite Senate pressure

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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The Obama administration apparently failed to secure the release of an American pastor imprisoned in Iran for his beliefs before striking a nuclear arms deal with the Iranian government early Sunday.

Though Secretary of State John Kerry managed to partially close down some of Iran’s nuclear program, while allowing the country to continue to enrich uranium, he did not gain the release of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for more than a year and reportedly tortured for spreading Christianity.

“Was the Christian pastor’s release part of this weekend’s ‘historic’ deal struck with Iran? If not, why not?,” former Alaska governor Sarah Palin tweeted Sunday.

The United States Senate and the House Foreign Affairs Committee both unanimously passed resolutions this month calling for Abedini’s release.

The push to free Abedini as part of the nuclear deal was spearheaded by the American Center for Law and Justice [ACLJ], which predictably condemned Kerry’s inability to secure the American’s release.

“President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry turned their backs on a U.S. citizen by refusing to secure his freedom before reaching an agreement with Iran,” ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow said in a statement following the deal. “It is outrageous and a betrayal of American Pastor Saeed Abedini who has spent more than a year in an Iranian prison simply because of his Christian faith. The Obama Administration has left Pastor Saeed behind.  And by failing to secure his release as a precondition to any negotiations, the Obama Administration sends a troubling message to the Iranian government that Americans are expendable.”

Rev. Billy Graham personally appealed to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in September to try to gain Abedini’s release.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

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