President Obama Calls for Pastor Saeed's Release

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President Obama asked Iran's President Hassan Rouhani to have American Pastor Saeed Abedini released from prison, according to the American Center for Law and Justice.

Obama talked by phone with the new Iranian president Friday afternoon, marking the first conversation between leaders of the two nations in more than three decades.

The ACLJ notified CBN News Friday evening that the Fox News network confirmed the request with the Obama administration.

The group calls this a significant and encouraging step forward in this critical case. The ACLJ has represented Abedini and his family in their struggle since the early days of his imprisonment.

The source within the administration reportedly told Fox News that Mr. Obama mentioned Pastor Saeed and two other Americans.

Abedini's wife Nagmeh says she is hopeful. "This is the most encouraging news I have heard since Saeed was imprisoned one year ago. I am very grateful to President Obama for standing up for Saeed and for the other Americans who are held captive in Iran," she said.

She went on to say, "This development is truly an answer to prayer. I urge President Rouhani, as I have done throughout this week, to release Saeed so he can return to our home and our family in the United States. In recent days, Iran has released 80 prisoners being held because of their beliefs. I pray we can add Saeed to that list very soon."

Abedini has been imprisoned in one of Iran's toughest facilities for more than a year for his faith in Christ.

Prayer vigils were held Thursday around the world for Pastor Saeed, who has been tortured for not denying his faith.

He has lead more than 30 people to Christ in the Iranian prison.

This is the first time President Obama has addressed Abedini's plight despite publicity campaigns for him to do so.

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