U.S. Sen. Jim Risch has recorded a short statement to the people of Iran that will air on VOA Persia before Friday’s elections, according to Naghmeh Abedini, whose husband has been imprisoned in Iran since September.
Risch and other supporters of Boise pastor Saeed Abedini hope to raise awareness in Iran and put pressure on the Iranian government to release him.
Here’s a transcript of the 54-second video:
“I’m Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho. It is important for the people of Iran to know that we will be watching your elections very closely to see if the events of the last election are repeated, where peaceful dissent was oppressed. The government’s denial of the rights of citizens to speak, assemble, or to believe in a different faith violates the most basic rights inherent to all people. An American citizen from my hometown, Boise, Idaho, Pastor Saeed Abedini, is currently being held in the Evin Prison, for practicing his faith and helping children in your country. For this and many other reasons, the citizens of America support your hope for freedom and democracy and wish you well as you find the path for a brighter future.”
In response to a request for comment about the video, Risch spokesman Brad Hoaglun said this via e-mail:
“The Voice of America asks for comments from senators on important issues to areas where the VOA broadcasts. Senator Risch agreed to make the video so he could mention Pastor Abedini and help publicize to the Iranian government that his situation has attention at the highest levels of government.”
Last week, Naghmeh Abedini was in Geneva to speak to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council about her husband.