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US Calls for Freedom of American Pastor Detained in Iran

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Today, the United States of America has called for the release of Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor and U.S. citizen detained in Iran eight months ago, tortured, and sentenced to eight years in prison for exercising his religious beliefs.

In his remarks in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry says he is disturbed by reports that Mr. Abedini has suffered physical and psychological abuse in prison, and that his condition has become increasingly dire.

"Such mistreatment violates international norms as well as Iran's own laws." - Secretary Kerry
In addition, Secretary Kerry also says he is troubled by the lack of due process in Mr. Abedini's case and Iran's continued refusal to allow consular access by Swiss authorities, the U.S. protecting power in Iran.

mona
Mona Mahmudnizhad, executed at the age of 18 in Shiraz in 1983, along with 9 other Bahá'í women. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The US government also welcomes reports that Mr. Abedini was examined by a physician and expect Iranian authorities to honor their commitment to allow Mr. Abedini to receive treatment for his injuries from a specialist outside the prison.

US Calls for Mr. Abedini's prompt release

Secretary Kerry says the best outcome for Mr. Abedini is that he be immediately released.

Earlier this year, Secretary of State nominee Kerry provided a more emphatic statement calling for the release of Pastor Abedini.

Currently, Mr. Abedini is facing charges for peacefully exercising his basic human right of religious freedom in Iran.

Iran's convicts Iranian-born American pastor Saeed Abedini for exercising his religious beliefs

Earlier this year, Iranian court sentenced Iranian-born American pastor Saeed Abedini, a convert from Islam to Christianity to eight years' imprisonment for charges of leading underground house churches in Iran.

The 32-year-old pastor was convicted four months after being arrested while visiting family in Iran. Reports say Mr. Abedini has been mistreated while in custody in Iran's Evin prison.

Iran Restricts freedom of expression and association?

The United States remains deeply troubled by the Iranian regime's latest campaign of fear and intimidation to extinguish dissent, eliminate freedom of expression, and deny the Iranian people their freedoms at the same time that it fails to hold the worst human rights abusers responsible for their actions.

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June 2009 Iranian election protests in Tehran. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The US is equally equally concerned by the ongoing bans on political parties and the imprisonment of political leaders in the lead up to Iran's presidential elections in June.

Reports say Iran's officials have tried to limit open political debate with the detention of more than a dozen journalists and the regime has also tried to silence numerous activists and human rights defenders through arrests and intimidations.

On May 9, 2010, the Iranian regime executed five prisoners in secret, four of whom were ethnic Kurds accused of being connected to a Kurdish terrorist organization.

Iran is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.

US imposes sanctions on Iran

In June 2011, the United States of America have imposed several sanctions on Iran. The United States imposed sanctions on Tidewater Middle East Company, an operator of Iranian ports owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that has links to Iranian proliferation activities.

The United States has also imposed sanctions against Iran Air, which was designated for providing material support and services to the IRGC and Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), and also has facilitated proliferation-related activities.

The European Union as well has imposed sanctions against Iran. The EU bans imports of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products, freeze the assets of the Iranian central bank, and take additional action against Iran's energy, financial, and transport sectors.

The measures was agreed by the EU Foreign Affairs Council which are another strong step in the international effort to dramatically increase the pressure on Iran.

The Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the secret police and primary intelligence agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is considered an important element of the Iranian government's security apparatus. It is well funded and equipped.

In 1999, The Ministry were held responsible for the serial murders of dissident writers and intellectuals.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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