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ICC Note: September 26th was the one year anniversary of the imprisonment of Saeed Abedini in an Iranian prison as a result of his Christian faith. Around the world Christians gathered to pray on his behalf. ICC spoke and took part in a vigil outside the White House alongside of Senator Ted Cruz, other Members of Congress, the State Department, and area pastors. It was a anniversary which all involved hope will not have a second, though Saeed currently faces an eight-year sentence.
By Tyler O’Neil
9/27/2013 Iran (Christian Post) – Around 100 people including pastors, congressmen and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), joined in prayer and protest in front of the White House for Iranian-born pastor Saeed Abedini, to mark the one-year anniversary of his imprisonment.
“We are here today on a somber moment,” Cruz told the crowd. “Pastor Abedini’s only crime was professing his Christian faith, following the Great Commission of the Gospel.”
Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor, was arrested on Sept. 26, 2012, while building orphanages in Iran. In January, he was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of “planting house churches that are intended to undermine national security.”
The protestors gathered in front of the White House because President Barack Obama has yet to issue a statement about pastor Abedini.
“This is not an issue because President Obama’s a Democrat and we’re mad,” said the Rev. Pat Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C. Mahoney noted the support from Democrats as well as Republicans for pastor Abedini. “This is an issue because there’s an American in jail and the only reason he’s in jail is because he’s Christian.”
“We now have a U.S. citizen, an American, sitting in one of the worst prisons in the world – sitting when he can…only because of his Christian faith,” said Jordan Sekulow, director of policy and international operations for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). He argued that the charges of national security are merely an excuse for arresting this outspoken Christian
Sekulow also announced that prayer vigils were occurring in approximately 70 U.S. cities and 17 foreign countries. Sekulow added that pastor Abedini’s wife, Nagmeh, spoke at the same time, and he noted that renowned evangelist Billy Graham had sent a letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and sponsored an ad in the New York Times requesting for Abedini’s release.
Washington, D.C.-area pastors also spoke at the vigil, demanding their fellow pastor’s release. L. Frazier White, pastor of Faith Tabernacle DC, emphasized the power of prayer. He acknowledged that he is new to the case, but said that he stands in solidarity with pastor Abedini because he represents the universal Church of Christ.
“The Bible has a story about a pastor called Moses who showed up to a government and he said, ‘let my people go!'” said R. Ernest Castillo, vice president for multilingual ministries at the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Comparing pastor Abedini to the Israelites enslaved in Egypt, Castillo called on pastors across the world to stand in solidarity with the Iranian-American.
Various government officials also spoke on Abedini’s behalf. Dwight Bashir, deputy director for policy and research at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, read a letter to Mrs. Abedini from the commission’s chair, Robert P. George.

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