Rubio Comments On The Anniversary Of Christian Pastor Abedini’s Imprisonment In Iran
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues, today issued the following statement on the anniversary of Christian pastor Saeed Abedini’s imprisonment in Iran:
“Today marks the third anniversary of Iran’s unjust imprisonment of U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini, and all Americans should be outraged that securing his freedom has not been a priority of the Obama Administration. Saeed Abedini is a Christian pastor who was arrested while building orphanages in Iran, and was unjustly sentenced in January 2013 to eight years in prison on charges of ‘planting house churches that are intended to undermine national security.’ It speaks volumes about the intolerance and cruelty of the Iranian regime that it would even view house churches as a threat.
“Over the past three years, Pastor Abedini has been routinely beaten in prison by Iranian authorities, suffered severe injuries and been denied medical care. Despite the inhumane treatment he has suffered from radical Islamists, he remains steadfast in his Christian faith. Today, my prayers are with Pastor Abedini, his family, and all those around the world being persecuted for their faith.
“It is unacceptable that Pastor Abedini remains suffering in an Iranian prison and that the Obama Administration did not prioritize his release as it negotiated a flawed nuclear deal with Iran. Pastor Abedini, as well as the other Americans unjustly imprisoned, including Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian, all must be unconditionally released. Additionally, the Iranian government should provide information about the whereabouts of Floridian Robert Levinson and help bring him home to his family.
“Earlier this year, Pastor Abedini’s son Jacob sent his father an invitation for his 7th birthday party, which he was unfortunately unable to attend due to his imprisonment. The Obama Administration must ensure that Pastor Abedini doesn’t miss another one of Jacob’s birthdays.”