What happens in the halls of national government – for better or for worse – can dictate the future course of America. Along with your fellow Prayer Team members, you are to be constantly and fervently interceding for all the men and women who serve in Congress, for your military leaders in the Pentagon, and for the President of the United States, his cabinet and administration.
“Inside Washington” will equip you to do just that … with reports on the nation’s leaders and the decisions they’re considering … or have already made. We’ll examine the implications for the nation, and call you to specific prayer for those needs.
Iran nuclear deal doesn’t include American pastor’s release
By Bill Noles
Imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini has been dealt another blow – this time by his own country. The United States had the opportunity to include his release as well as the release of other American prisoners from an Iranian prison as a condition of the historic nuclear agreement recently reached with Iran but instead chose to betray the imprisoned American citizens.
“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,” Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), said in a statement. “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.”
Negotiators from Iran, the United States and five other world powers signed an accord – named the Joint Plan of Action – that will temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program. Israel, while not a party to the deal, criticized the four-page nuclear agreement. “What was concluded in Geneva is not a historic agreement, it’s a historic mistake,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
“For years the international community has demanded that Iran cease all uranium enrichment,” the Israeli leader added. “Now, for the first time, the international community has formally consented that Iran continue its enrichment of uranium.”
President Obama spoke to Netanyahu on the phone in an attempt to mend fences with the long-time ally. “The President underscored that the United States will remain firm in our commitment to Israel, which has good reason to be skeptical about Iran’s intentions,” the White House said in a statement.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the ACLJ had urged the release of Pastor Abedini be an integral part of the nuclear deal. “With due respect Mr. Secretary, do not execute any agreement or promise any reduction in sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran until Mr. Abedini and other Americans wrongfully held in Iran are released and returned to the United States. To do otherwise would constitute a dereliction of office,” the letter said.
Since Pastor Saeed’s imprisonment, the Obama Administration and Secretary Kerry have made several nominal attempts to secure his release without positive results.
“The actions of the Iranian regime have utterly ignored President Obama’s demand for Mr. Abedini’s release,” the letter continued. “Failure to secure Mr. Abedini’s freedom and return to the United States while executing an agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran sends the unmistakable message that the United States will not protect its own citizens even when dealing directly with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Despite repeated requests for Mr. Abedini’s release, Iran responded by taking action against Mr. Abedini and placing him in further peril.”
Currently serving an eight-year sentence in an Iranian prison for “activities against the state” because of his Christian faith, Pastor Abedini was recently taken out of Evin Prison and transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, a notoriously brutal penitentiary where the most violent criminals are incarcerated.
“Surrounded by Iran’s most violent criminals, Mr. Abedini’s life is threatened daily by fellow inmates,” Sekulow stated. “His sole alleged crime was that the act of gathering with fellow Christian believers threatened the security of Iran. In this violent prison, Mr. Abedini’s life hangs in the balance.”
International human rights groups have condemned the conditions inside the Iranian prison. “We are very concerned for Rajai Shahr prisoners,” said Iran Human Rights, a human rights organization based in Oslo, Norway. “They live under constant fear and many of them might be in imminent danger of execution. We urge the international community to react now.”
Politicians worldwide continue to call for Pastor Saeed’s release. In November, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed a resolution calling for the release of Pastor Saeed and condemning the Government of Iran for its persecution of religious minorities. The U.S Senate passed a unanimous bipartisan resolution and members of the European Parliament spoke out on his behalf.
“We believe that prayer and strong international pressure – the outcry of hundreds of thousands of people around the world – are keeping Pastor Saeed alive,” the ACLJ added.
This week pray:
- The Iran nuclear agreement will be successful in halting the Islamic Republic’s march toward nuclear weapons
- Iran will release Pastor Saeed and other American prisoners and stop human rights violations
- America will be a strong force in religious freedoms worldwide
Bill Noles Jr. is an entrepreneur, author and writer. Married for over 30 years, he is a father of two sons and grandfather of four children. He and his wife Diann live in Tucson, AZ. (081413)
The following expressions and comments are
from our members and
do not necessarily
represent or reflect the biblical or world
views or opinions
of the Presidential Prayer Team
To Add - Enter Below