Date: January 19, 2016
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.
“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:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
[State Department photo/ Public Domain]
- $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
- 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
“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.
(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.