The White House and U.S. State Department are once again calling on Iran to release an American pastor jailed for his faith.
Saeed Abedini is serving an eight-year prison sentence in one of the most brutal prisons in the world for sharing the Gospel.
On Monday, Abedini's wife appeared before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to plead for her husband's release.
"Why is he being held? Because he exercised his rights of religious freedom, expression and peaceful assembly," she told the council. "I hope that my presence here today will put a face to those that suffer when a government does not uphold its obligation to protect these freedoms."
The 33-year-old Iranian-born pastor has endured torture while in prison.
"On at least two known occasions, Iran's officials have physically tortured my husband," she testified. "These instances of torture have caused my husband to have symptoms of internal bleeding."
The White House said it was "deeply concerned" Monday about Pastor Abedini's plight and promised to press for his release until he was back home with his family. The U.S State Department also chimed in.
"We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini's human rights and release him," Wendy Sherman, the State Department's lead nuclear negotiator, said.
"We will continue to pursue this in every way possible that we can, through every channel we possibly can," she vowed.
But Abedini is not alone.
Last month, Iranian authorities shut down the largest Persian-language church and arrested its pastor. With less than two weeks to go before Iranians pick their next president, authorities are reportedly targeting individuals and groups deemed dangerous, including growing Christian churches.
Just before ending her U.N. speech, Naghmeh said on Facebook that she wanted to use her appearance to plant the seeds of the Gospel message before a global audience.Will Naghmeh's appeal to the UN have any effect on Pastor Saeed's situation? Why does the regime say Christians are dangerous? Jay Sekulow from the American Center of Law and Justice answered these questions and more on Wednesday's Newswatch, June 5. Click play to watch.
"Iran has kept Saeed's imprisonment because Saeed believes in forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ and that whoever accepts this forgiveness of sin can be reconciled to the God of peace and love," she wrote. "This is the God of peace we are all searching for."