Why is Obama worried about Iran's Pastor Saeed?

American citizen Saeed Abedini is a lay missionary from Calvary Chapel in Boise, Idaho. Jailed in Iran for his evangelism work, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for having “undermined the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches and attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam.”

At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama championed the cause of an Idaho pastor held in Iran for more than a year. “We pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini,” Obama said. “He’s been held in Iran for more than 18 months, sentenced to eight years in prison on charges related to his Christian beliefs.”

Obama speaks to the National Prayer Breakfast (White House photo)

Obama speaks to the National Prayer Breakfast (White House photo)

But why now? Why is Obama speaking after being silent for a year and a half? And will he follow up his words with actions?

An American citizen, Abedini is a lay missionary from Calvary Chapel in Boise, Idaho. Hs was jailed in notorious Evin Prison in July 2012, then sentenced by Judge Abbas Pir-Abassi Abedini to eight years in prison for having “undermined the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches and attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam.”

Pastor Saeed in Tehran (family photo)

Pastor Saeed in Tehran (family photo)

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Christians in Iran suffer severe discrimination. A court in the city of Rasht recently sentenced four church members to 80 lashes each for participating in a communion service. They were convicted of sipping wine while participating – violating Islam’s ban on alcohol.

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Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
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