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ICC Note: The June 30th deadline for reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran has come and gone. The new set deadline is scheduled for July 7—giving more time for the Obama administration to demand the release of American pastor Saeed Abedini and other American citizens wrongfully imprisoned in Iran. Although President Obama has expressed that Saeed’s release is of top priority, no forward progress has proven this to be true.

07-01-2015 Iran (ACLJ): As the deadline for the Iranian nuclear talks loomed today, the State Department announced that the deadline has once again been extended to July 7th.

This means more time for the U.S. government to do the right thing and not leave American Pastor Saeed Abedini behind.

The Associated Press reports:

[T]he State Department announced the extension of an interim nuclear agreement that was set to expire Tuesday night, the original deadline for a final deal. The preliminary measures have been prolonged to July 7 “to allow more time for negotiations to reach a long-term solution … on the Iran nuclear issue,” spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

Talks in Austria’s capital restarted Tuesday after a one-day interruption, with Iran’s chief diplomat returning from Tehran and insisting he had a mandate to finalize a nuclear agreement. The promise came despite increased signs of backtracking by his country’s supreme leader and an acknowledgement by all sides that no pact would be reached by their self-imposed deadline.

This extended deadline provides another chance for the Obama Administration to demand what they should have been demanding all along – before we will even consider finalizing any nuclear deal, Iran must free Pastor Saeed and the other wrongfully imprisoned Americans in Iran.

The Obama Administration has said that Pastor Saeed’s freedom is a “top priority” and that discussions about his freedom are relegated to the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations.

Both of these statements cannot be true.

If he’s a top priority, then they must demand his freedom.  He is an American citizen tormented in one of Iran’s most dangerous prisons because of his faith in Christ.

It is time for America to do more than just talk. It’s time to take action.

It’s long past time for Pastor Saeed to come home.

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