US, Iran: Abedini returned, problem remains

Source:                        www.MNNonline.org

Date:                            January 19, 2016

 

PUBLISHED ON 19 January, 2016 BY

Iran (MNN) — U.S. and Iranian presidents are calling this weekend’s prisoners-for-terrorists exchange a success. Meanwhile, Open Doors USA CEO and President David Curry is urging believers worldwide to pair praise for Pastor Saeed Abedini’s release with ongoing prayer.

Saeed, his wife Nagmeh, and their two children.

Saeed, his wife, Nagmeh, and their two children.

As Abedini and the others arrived at a U.S. military base in Germany on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to the press.

“Today is the beginning of a new era, a new chapter [for Iran] with the region and the world,” Rouhani stated in Tehran.

From the White House, Obama claimed, “We have a rare chance to pursue a new path: a different, better future that delivers progress for both our peoples and the wider world.”

Diplomacy or deadly dealing?

At first glance, the deal struck between Iran and the U.S. may appear lopsided. Here’s what each nation gained this weekend:

Iran

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
    [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

    Sanctions removal, which reportedly freed up $150 billion in previously-frozen assets
  • $1.7 billion payment on a long-standing legal claim
  • Freedom for 7 prisoners who were convicted of selling U.S. military-capable technology, software and industrial products to Iran
  • Charges dropped against 14 Iranians wanted in sanctions- and export-related cases

U.S.

  • Freedom for 4 prisoners accused of espionage and, regarding Abedini, “undermining Iran’s national security”
  • Iran’s promise to NOT use nuclear technology make a nuclear weapon

12-05-13 Uzbekistan Map - Flickr-Rabinal - 2206690601_d0bf0d480bWhile some media mark the prisoner swap and sanctions removal a diplomatic success, regional neighbors aren’t so sure.

“The Americans are satisfied because, in their thinking, diplomacy succeeded,” Ram Ben-Barak, director-general of Israel’s Intelligence Ministry, told Reuters.

“But we are very, very worried, and the Gulf countries are very, very worried; and it is absolutely clear to everyone that this hiatus is utterly temporary.”

Persecution doesn’t end with Abedini

Since his detainment in 2012, Pastor Saeed Abedini became a “poster child” of sorts for persecuted Christians in Iran.

aclj_abedini free

(Photo courtesy ACLJ)

“We’re aware of Saeed because he’s an American citizen. But the fact is: there are a lot of pastors in prison for their faith, for sharing Bibles,” Curry notes.

As you praise the Lord for bringing Saeed Abedini home, don’t forget about Iran. “The pastors in Iran are brothers and sisters in Christ, just as Saeed is, so let’s keep these folks in our prayers.”

Sharing Christ is illegal in Iran, and converting to Christianity from Islam is punishable by death. That’s not stopping the Church from growing, though. Open Doors supports the Church in Iran with training and advocacy, among other things.

Learn more about Open Doors’ work with the Body of Christ in Iran.

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