What does the Iran nuclear deal mean for American “detainees” or hostages trapped in the Islamic republic?
I wrote about Pastor Saeed Abedini at WORLD a couple years ago, where I tried to make sense of what was happening to him. He traveled from the U.S. to his native Iran to build an orphanage and see his parents. He was arrested and imprisoned for, essentially, being a Christian. He’s serving what likely will be a hard eight years.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), run by Jay Sekulow, has been gathering signatures and raising funds to help Christians like Pastor Abedini. In an article at ACLJ, Matthew Clark wrote about Americans left to rot in Iran after the nuclear deal. An excerpt:
The Obama Administration is adding insult to injury. After President Obama attacked a reporter questioning his decision to make a deal with Iran leaving four American hostages behind as “nonsense,” Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman continued this insolent tone yesterday.
A reporter in yesterday’s State Department briefing asked Undersecretary Sherman – who has been the Administration’s point person on the entire negotiation process – a simple question, “Did the hostages ever come up [during nuclear talks] or were they only a sideline issue?”
Instead of merely addressing the question, Undersecretary Sherman attacked the reporter’s characterization of the wrongfully imprisoned Americans as “hostages.” As the Washington Free Beacon reports:
“Well the Americans, we probably legally would not call them hostages,” Sherman instructed the reporters. She suggested the term “detainees” instead, and assured the press that “our focus of attention has been and always will be” bringing home the four American hostages.
Does the government not consider Pastor Abedini a hostage because wasn’t on a government mission? He’s reportedly been beaten and tormented by his captors. Clark wrote that Pastor Abedini was told he’d be released if he denied Christ and became a Muslim. Whether he and the others are official hostages, why didn’t the president at least try to negotiate the release of Americans?