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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Betrayed but not forgotten...the continuing crisis of Saeed Abedini.

"I pray for this innocent man....
May God bring freedom for us all..Amen.
       (My dear Iranian friend...
         name withheld for security reasons.)

 "I never anticipated that I would have to battle my own government to secure his freedom!"
 In a tone of despair and frustration, Naghmeh Abedini, publicly proclaimed her outrage during her testimony at the congressional hearings concerning the fate of her husband Saeed who has spent the last 444 days of his life in an Iranian prison.
Naghmeh feels betrayed by her own government! Just recently when Secretary of State John Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif in Geneva for the nuclear talks, the opportunity for a good faith initiative between the United States and Iran was right there at the table, but....nothing happened!
 The American Center for Law and Justice, (ACLJ) representing Saeed and his wife Naghmeh, were astonished that the United States passed by a golden opportunity to secure the release of Saeed as "pre-condition" before any negotiations for Iran's nuclear program were discussed. Instead, Iran was put on a six month probation and the weight of the international sanctions were eased against them, restoring millions of dollars to their economic woes.
The Obama Administration was satisfied that after 34 years, a new relationship with Iran was finally emerging and there was finally hope..but there is just one problem..
 An American citizen was left behind in the midst of the celebration and instead of addressing the horrors of the Iranian human rights violations, the United States instead rejoiced in the success of a major nuclear arms agreement.
While Iran and the U.S. shook hands, Saeed continues to experience deteriorating health conditions, internal bleeding and torture after being transferred to Rajar Shahr prison in Karaj, Iran. Rajar Shahr is "home" to murderers, drug addicts, and rapists on death row, placing Saeed in a very dangerous environment. The Iranian regime puts prisoners here that they want to disappear in an atmosphere of "silent execution," depriving them of any medical treatment or drugs and eventually they either die from disease or at the hands of other violent inmates.
Even though it appears that our government has betrayed Saeed by not mentioning him in the nuclear negotiations with Iran, there is one dear friend of mine who has not forgotten him.
For security reasons, I cannot mention her name except to say that she lives in Tehran. She is secretly a Christian. We have texted each other many times and I have helped my friend by sending her translations of the Bible in the Farsi language.
A few weeks ago, my friend listened to my radio program, "The Cross in the Desert." The topic on that program was about Saeed and the nuclear talks.
After listening, my friend sent me a beautiful email message in which she shared her heart with me about the desperate situation of Saeed. The following message is exactly in her own words:

           "I just heard your radio program, Randy. It made me sad because I realized how indifferent I am. And I have no fault because when you live here you learn that if you want to stay safe you have to be indifferent. The problems here are too much! We citizens are drawn into so many problems and yet we don't dare complain. We do not dare to defend innocent people in prison like Saeed. We have to remain silent and just watch!
I pray for this innocent man. I pray for his freedom. May God bring freedom for all of us. Amen!

Words cannot adequately express how much I appreciate my dear friend's honesty! In the midst of being forgotten by his government, Saeed has a true friend living right there in the heart of Iran. A beauiful, young,  21 year-old University student who desires to publicly speak out for him but has to remain silent in fear for her life. Yet my friend is praying for Saeed. She has not forgotten him! 
My dear friend's beautiful message of love and prayer for Saeed should stand as a rebuke to our government! They ought to be ashamed for not speaking up for their own citizen and doing
everything possible to demand his release! 
Even though my government failed to speak out for Saeed, my friend didn't! She let her voice and prayers be heard in a country that would immediately imprison her for making her views public.
What courage! What conviction! God bless you my dear friend for not forgetting Saeed!