Pastor Joel Hunter, known as President Obama’s spiritual adviser, recently returned from a trip to Iran where he raised American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s case with Iranian officials.
According to a story by Jordan Sekulow for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Hunter stated that he “specifically” discussed Abedini’s case “with the right person and in the right environment,” asking “the Iranian government for clemency.”
In an interview with BBC Persia, the ACLJ said Hunter responded to a question about Abedini.
Here is a translation of that question and answer:
BBC Reporter: “Human rights organizations have given special focus and attention to those who are imprisoned in Iran because of their religious beliefs including the American-Iranian Pastor Mr. Abedini who has been imprisoned for the last two years. How can these interactions between the two countries (USA and Iran) – including your recent trip to Iran – help in making the environment better inside of Iran and the pressure on these individuals (religious minorities) be reduced? Did you do a special follow-up on Mr. Abedini on this trip?”
Hunter: “It was actually one of our main goals in this trip to create such a different environment which would include giving more leeway to different religions. Now that we have this connection, we were able to discuss these prisoners, specifically in regard to Pastor Saeed Abedini. It was because of this dialogue that we were able to ask the Iranian government for clemency for him and we were able to bring this up with the right person and in the right environment. This opportunity was provided to us by the Iranians themselves and it did not happen because of any pressure from us. In general, these dialogues help these prisoners a lot.”
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SOURCE: ASSIST News Service