An interview with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif provides a glimmer of hope for imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini—a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith.
According to Charisma News, the foreign ministers comments come on the heels of Pastor Saeed’s recent move from the “worst-of-the-ward” Rajai Shahr Prison to the political prisoner ward. “We have various clemency measures in Iran that can be introduced,” Zarif said in the interview from Davos, Switzerland. However, clemency is not something Zarif himself can decide. “That is something for the judiciary to decide,” he said.
Senator Rand Paul (KY) has sent a letter to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani urging him to commute Pastor Saeed’s sentence and release him. The letter, which can also be read here, states:
I am writing to you today to urge you to commute the sentence of Pastor Saeed Abedini and release him from prison. I have recently met with his wife, Naghmeh, and she is very concerned for her husband’s well-being. His health is deteriorating and he is apparently under constant threat of harm from both prison personnel and other inmates at Rajaei Shahr prison.
I wish to remain cautiously optimistic regarding the recent diplomatic progress between our two nations. However, I must point out that if something were to happen to Pastor Abedini while he is incarcerated, any good will forged over the past few months would likely evaporate. Conversely, granting clemency to Pastor Abedini and allowing him to return to the United States would do much to create a positive atmosphere that would reflect well on future discussions.
Cooperation and trust are built one gesture at a time and actions speak louder than words.
Rand Paul, M.D.
United States Senator
If you would like to join Senator Rand and others urging Iran to grant Pastor Saeed clemency, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has an online petition you can sign.
Publication Date: January 29, 2013.