Graham to Obama: Are You Going to Lead in Effort to Free American Pastor from Iran?
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has asked President Obama to show leadership in trying to free an American Christian pastor from prison in Iran.
Recently, 11 Republican senators wrote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on behalf of Saeed Abedini to implore that she “exhaust all efforts” and “not stand idly by while the Iranian regime arbitrarily persecutes a U.S. citizen who has committed no crime.” This week, Tehran sentenced 32-year-old Abedini to eight years in the notorious Evin prison on charges that could have carried a death sentence.
"Such treatment of an American citizen by Iranian fanatics is nothing less than outrageous," Graham wrote Obama yesterday. "Pastor Abedini’s case is symbolic of the gross injustice against all Christians in Iran today," he added, noting that the mullahs committed "a second crime" to "compassionate people of all faiths" since Abedini was trying to tend to orphans in the country.
"I appreciate that spokesmen at the White House and the Department of State have recently called upon the Iranian government to release Pastor Abedini," Graham said. "This is to be expected, and a growing chorus of voices is undoubtedly essential in highlighting the injustice committed against a man condemned to prison simply because of his faith.:
“While I fully recognize the myriad national security issues posed by the fanatical theocracy in Tehran, I believe the case of Pastor Abedini deserves your full attention and engagement. To this end, it is imperative that you personally add your voice to those calling for Pastor Abedini’s immediate and unconditional release. There is no better symbol of American values, specifically freedom of religion, or demonstration of loyalty to the welfare of our citizens abroad than vocal and sustained support directly from the President of the United States,” he continued.
"I believe that anything less than your personal attention will only guarantee that the injustice committed by the ruling mullahs against Pastor Abedini prevails, the separation from his loving family endures, and his good works remain in abeyance while imprisoned."