Iranian state media announced that Pastor Saeed Abedini — an American citizen on trial today due to his Christianity — was being granted bail today, but his wife reports that the government refused to grant him bail or drop charges.
“This is all a lie by the Iranian media,” Naghmeh Abedini, who is also an American citizen living with their family in Idaho, said in a statement to her attorneys at the American Center for Law and Justice. “This has been a repeated promise by the Iranian regime since Saeed was first thrown in prison on September 26, 2012. We have presented bail. After the Judge told Saeed’s lawyer that bail was back on the table, the family in Tehran ran around in circles today to make sure Saeed was let out on bail. But again the bail officer rejected bail.”
Mrs. Abedini issued that statement after the Associated Press announced that Abedini would be released. “Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency is reporting that a jailed American pastor of Iranian origin is to be released imminently after posting $ 116,000 bail,” the Associated Press reported. “It quotes lawyer Nasser Sarbazi as saying Saeed Abedini stood trial at the Revolutionary Court Monday on charges of attempting to undermine state security by creating a network of Christian churches in private homes.”
But Sarbazi denies that Abedini will be out on bail. “This is a game to silence the international media,” Abedini’s wife explained. “The lawyer in Iran was asked to make a statement, but that was before the family’s attempts today and before the regime again rejected bail. Dr. Sarbazi told me today that the regime is not dropping the charges against Saeed – this is the only act that would allow Saeed to leave Iran and return to the U.S.”
In court today, Abedini was charged “ with attempting to undermine the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches,” according to the ACLJ.
Iran’s handling of Abedini makes a sharp contrast with how they marked Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inauguration — by releasing 52 American hostages just minutes after he was sworn into office.
The U.S. State Department has so far failed to call for Abedini’s release, telling his family that they can’t intervene because Iran won’t recognize his U.S. citizenship and Abedini has not signed a privacy release form, congressional sources told The Washington Examiner.
“If our own State Department fails to advocate for a U.S. citizen who faces injustice in a country that is widely regarded as one of the most egregious human rights abusers, then I believe they have failed in one of their most fundamental responsibilities to American citizens,” Rep Trent Franks, R-Ariz., said in a statement to The Examiner today.