Congressman Robert Pittenger

Representing the 9th District of North Carolina
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Support Pastor Saeed Abedini


Continuing efforts to secure freedom for imprisoned Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) today wrote President Obama requesting additional high-level diplomacy.
Co-signed by 66 Members of the U.S. House and Senate, Congressman Pittenger’s letter urges President Obama to “continue to act on statements by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif last month.  The Minister’s statement, the first by an Iranian official, raised clemency as an alternative to Pastor Abedini serving his eight year prison sentence in full.
“These statements must be met with caution, but our hope is the Administration will take full advantage of this opportunity to bring Pastor Abedini home to his wife and children.”
Pastor Abedini, an American citizen who lives in Idaho, has been imprisoned in Iran since July 2012 and repeatedly beaten due to his religious beliefs.  He was in Iran to build an orphanage and had permission from the Iranian government for both the trip and the project.
Congressman Pittenger first wrote to President Obama about Pastor Abedini in September, questioning why the Administration seemed to ignore the wrongful imprisonment of an American pastor.  Shortly after receiving the letter, co-signed by 75 Members of Congress, President Obama first raised the issue of Pastor Abedini with Iranian President Rouhani.
“We appreciate President Obama’s recent comments on behalf of Pastor Abedini and his public call for the release of religious prisoners around the world,” said Congressman Pittenger.