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John Kerry Calls on Iran to Release Pastor Saeed Abedini

John Kerry Calls on Iran to Release Pastor Saeed Abedini

Secretary of State John Kerry has calling on Iran to release imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini, an American pastor who has been detained overseas for nearly two years. Kerry also urged Iran to release American captives Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian, and to cooperate with U.S. authorities to find Robert Levinson, a CIA investigator kidnapped in 2007 by Iranian authorities. 

Abedini has served two years of an eight-year prison sentence for organizing the construction of a secular orphanage. The American pastor of Iranian descent has been beaten to the point of needing hospitalization while incarcerated.

Kerry said, "On September 26, Mr. Abedini will have been detained for two years in Iran, on charges related to his religious beliefs. Mrs. Abedini has spoken eloquently about the difficulties her family has faced during this challenging time."

Hekmati was arrested on false espionage charges and has remained in prison for three years. Rezaian was apprehended for unspecific “security issues” in July. 

"The United States remains committed to returning all of them to their families, friends, and loved ones," Kerry said. 

Publication date: September 3, 2014