ACLJ: Obama ignored jailed Americans for Iran deal

Friday, July 17, 2015
 | 
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)

A law firm representing the family of imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedeni says he and three other hostages in Iran have been abandoned by the Obama Administration during its nuclear deal with Iran. 

"It's unconscionable that the Obama administration submitted this deal to Congress and to the American people without first securing the release of these Americans," observes Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice.

ACLJ has been lobbying Congress and the White House for Abedini's release, and sought and got a meeting with the pastor's wife, Naghmeh, and President Obama in January.

Half a year after that meeting, Sekulow tells OneNewsNow that President Obama broke a promise to make Pastor Saeed's release a top priority. 

Instead, he says, the hostages continue to suffer.

Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini 620x300

In addition to Abedini (pictured at left), the other hostages include retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, and former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati.

The ACLJ attorney says the prisoners' freedom "should have been done as a precondition to the talks before even starting these negotiations a couple of years ago.  There were opportunities during the negotiations."  

Obama was pressed about not including the hostages in negotiations in a testy exchange with CBS News reporter Major Garrett in a July 15 press conference.

Obama suggested that asking for the prisoners to be released could have handed Iran a tool to negotiate with and led Iran to demand more concessions. 

Sekulow, Jordan (ACLJ)Garrett later said his pointed questioning was meant to ask President Obama "why were these four Americans not accounted for in the context of negotiating a wide range of issues with the Iranians."

In the final hours of the deal, the reporter said, the Iranians introduced new demands that included lifting an arms embargo and allowing ballistic missile production. 

"If those could be introduced," Garrett said, "it seems to me it’s reasonable to ask the commander-in-chief if other issues on the American side could have been introduced." 

"He asked a legitimate journalistic question," observes Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center. 

Four of the prisoners include a member of the press, he says, yet the media is blaming Garrett.

"It's disgusting that people in the media would be upset by it," Gainor tells OneNewsNow. 

Sekulow says of the U.S.-Iran deal: "We want to make sure that every time U.S. government officials have to defend this deal and talk about it, while the focus is on Iran over the next couple of months, that these Americans are always brought up and that they realize how important this is to the American people."

The ACLJ has launched a new petition demanding Congress reject the deal and demand the release of the Americans.

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