Wednesday, January 28, 2015

THYME Magazine: Prisoner for His Faith

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume IX, Issue IV

Prisoner for His Faith

Last week Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, was finally granted a meeting with the President after two years of asking. Saeed, you may recall, is the United States citizen of Iranian ancestry who was arrested as a 'threat to national security' by the Iranians. His crime, meeting with local Christians as he worked to establish an orphanage in the country. Abedini became a Christian in 2000, converting from Islam. Though Christianity at that time was recognized as a 'minority religion,' Christians have been regularly subjected to persecution.

In July of 2012, Abedini, now a Pastor and an American Citizen, made his ninth trip to Iran since 2009. He visited his family and the orphanage project in Rasht. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confiscated his passports and placed him under house arrest. He was then transferred to Evin Prison, where he has been incarcerated since late September. In January of 2013 was sentenced to eight years in prison. Saeed has faced torture and horrible conditions in the prison as his family in America sought the attention of the administration on his behalf.

Though Secretary of State John Kerry has issued statements demanding his release, the administration presses ahead with nuclear negotiations with Tehran. Americans have seen dangerous Guantanamo prisoners exchanged for an American deserter who wanted to join the terrorists. All the while Pastor Saeed languished in a terrible prison. Fortunately the American Center for Law and Justice [click to read] has labored tirelessly to make Pastor Saeed's case known. We urge our readers to visit the ACLJ site and sign the petition for Pastor Saeed's release. [1.]

The President met for ten minutes with Naghmeh Abedini and the couple's two children: Jacob and Rebekka on a post-State of the Union Speech tour stopover in Boise, Idaho. He told them that their husband and father's freedom is a "top priority."

There can be little doubt that the tireless work of this fine organization and the heartfelt support of thousands of citizens has resulted in Naghmeh Saeed gaining the attention of those in Washington. Now we must not relent. America must not hammer out any deal that lifts sanctions while an innocent American citizen is illegally detained and tortured.

Binyamin Netanyahu to Speak

On March 3, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress in Washington, DC. His subject will be the situation in Iran as regards to weapons and the policy the free world must follow in dealing with this nation. Our elected representatives need to heed his clear warning. It is not coincidental that the date the Prime Minister was originally invited to speak to Congress, February 11, is the anniversary of the overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi thirty-six years ago.

The invitation to address the joint session was given by Speaker John Boehner and the administration was caught off-guard since such invitations in the past have typically been coordinated first with the White House and the State Department. The President does not plan to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu. In the State of the Union Speech the President had threatened to veto a bill strengthening sanctions against Iran if negotiations failed to result in the curtailment of the country's nuclear enrichment program.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) says of the President's Iran policy: “The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran. And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization, when they are the ones with original sin, an illicit nuclear weapons program going back over the course of 20 years that they are unwilling to come clean on. So I don’t know why we feel compelled to make their case.” [2.] 

With Obama’s diplomatic policy toward Iran enabling rather than preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power, members of the House and Senate are seeking a credible, unwavering voice that offers an alternative path. For the past 20 years, Netanyahu has been the global leader most outspoken about the need to take all necessary measures to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, not only for Israel’s benefit, but to protect the entire free world. From the perspective of the congressional leadership, then, inviting Netanyahu to speak was a logical move." -- The Jerusalem Post [3.]

There is little doubt that Tehran under President Hassan Rouhani has aspirations to become a power, at least in the region. [4.][5.]

Saeed Abedini and his children, Jacob and Rebekka.

Photos of Lynchburg Virginia

Lynchburg Trip
Houses on Garland Hill, Lynchburg, Virginia.
Photo by Bob Kirchman

Lynchburg Trip
Piedmont Flour Mill, Lynchburg,Virginia.
Photo by Bob Kirchman

Lynchburg Trip
Amazement Square, Lynchburg, Virginia.
Photo by Bob Kirchman

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