We just made a “deal” with a country that is holding and torturing an American pastor — without even bothering to secure that pastor’s release.
So forgive me if I have trouble believing in Iran’s good faith or even our own administration’s.
Saeed Abedini, a pastor who lives in Idaho with his wife and two young kids, secured a permission from the government of Iran to enter the country last year to help build an orphanage. Once there, the Revolutionary Guard arrested him and tried him for “national security” charges that were based on nothing more than his Christian faith.
The jihadist kangaroo court convicted him and sentenced him to eight years in prison, where he’s been tortured and abused. We were heartened (the American Center for Law and Justice represents Pastor Abedini’s family), when President Obama raised the issue when he spoke to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. But in a stunning and immediate rebuke to President Obama, the Iranians shortly thereafter moved Abedini to an even worse prison, where he shares quarters with murderers and rapists.
Yet rather than viewing such a rebuke as unacceptable and holding firm on sanctions until the Iranians relented, the administration not only pressed forward on a deal that gives Iran sanctions relief while allowing it to keep enriching uranium, but also pledged to facilitate “humanitarian transactions” for the people of Iran.
As ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow noted in his Fox column, we have offered to facilitate humanitarian aid for Iran, but Iran can’t even bring itself to make the single “humanitarian transaction” of releasing Pastor Saeed.
If you look at the Obama administration’s “fact sheet” released in the aftermath of the deal, you’ll note the deal is based entirely around a series of Iranian “commitments.” These commitments would be easier to believe if they were accompanied by a single, concrete good-faith action, such as releasing all Americans wrongly held in Iran.
But that apparently wasn’t an administration priority. When Fox News asked why Pastor Saeed wasn’t included in the deal, the administration responded: ”The P5+1 talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues.”
No, they did not. They also included “humanitarian” discussions.
Do we only care about the humanitarian needs of Iranians?
The Obama administration has established its troubling Middle Eastern pattern. In service of its grand vision, it will leave Americans behind — whether they’re besieged and isolated on a dark Benghazi night or alone and afraid in a dreadful Iranian prison.
If you’re going to make an omelet, I suppose you have to break a few eggs.