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President Obama, John Kerry negotiate with Iran as abuse of jailed American pastor increases

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's reputation as a moderate has convinced U.S. leaders to begin nuclear negotiations by easing sanctions on the rogue regime, even as Rouhani has permitted the increasing abuse of American pastor Saeed Abedini.

Abedini's plight has worsened in recent days, while Secretary of State John Kerry prepared for a historic meeting with his Iranian counterpart.

Abedini's family confirmed last week that he was moved to the infamous Rajaï Shahr prison.

"Once in there, one stops to be a human being," Dutch diplomat Loes Bijnen said in 2005. "One is put out of sight, even of human rights activists and the press.

"In Rajaï Shahr, political prisoners have to share cells with dangerous criminals like murderers, rapists and drug addicts who don't hesitate to attack their cell mates.

"They have nothing to lose: many of them are condemned to death anyway. Murders or unexplained deaths are a regular occurrence."

Abedini, whose wife and family live in Idaho, has been imprisoned for over a year because he is a Christian.

His transfer to Rajaï Shahr is especially remarkable because President Obama, months after the Iranians first jailed him, personally told Rouhani that the United States would like Abedini and other imprisoned Americans to be released.

The Iranians spurned Obama's request, as evidenced by Abedini's transfer.

“We believe this new action by the Iranian regime merits additional response," Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and a bipartisan group of 23 senators wrote to Obama Wednesday.

"It is imperative for the United States government to speak out boldly on behalf of Pastor Saeed at the earliest opportunity, and we look forward to supporting you in this effort.”

Cruz suggested that Obama make Abedini's release a precondition of negotiations.

"The Iranians should not be allowed to try to leverage Pastor Saeed’s release into American concessions over sanctions," he said earlier this week.

"Rather, the president should make it clear that it is incumbent on the Iranians to demonstrate through this action that the rhetoric of their new president is more than mere lip service to gain economic relief."

Instead, Kerry is flying to Geneva today to negotiate an agreement that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regards as "a very bad deal."

"Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge," Netanyahu said. "But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years. Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and it pays nothing."

With moderates like Rouhani, who needs hard-line fundamentalists?

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