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Iran Urged To Release American Pastor

Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini and family.

“The best outcome for Mr. Abedini,” Mr. Kerry said, “is that he be immediately released.”

Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini was born in Iran and converted to Christianity in 2000. Arrested in 2012 during a trip to Iran, he was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of attempting to undermine state security by creating a network of Christian churches in private homes.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on the Iranian regime to immediately release Pastor Abedini.

In a statement, Secretary Kerry said, “I am deeply concerned about the fate of U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini, who has been detained for nearly six months and was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. I am disturbed by reports that Mr. Abedini has suffered physical and psychological abuse in prison, and that his condition has become increasingly dire.”

Mr. Kerry said he was “also troubled by the lack of due process in Mr. Abedini’s case and Iran’s continued refusal to allow consular access by Swiss authorities, the U.S. protecting power in Iran.”

Mr. Kerry urged Iranian authorities to honor their commitment to allow Mr. Abedini to receive treatment for his injuries from a specialist outside the prison. “The best outcome for Mr. Abedini,” Mr. Kerry said, “is that he be immediately released.”

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe also called for Pastor Abedini’s release: “We note with particular concern the worsening plight of religious minority communities in Iran. . .Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini’s continuing harsh treatment at the hands of Iranian authorities exemplifies this trend.”

Ambassador Donahoe said, “We repeat our call for the Government of Iran to release Mr. Abedini, and others who are unjustly imprisoned, and to cease immediately its persecution of all religious minority communities.”