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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Risch quizzed State Department officials during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today on the latest efforts to secure the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini.  The Boise pastor has been sentenced by the Iranian government to eight years in prison for spreading Christianity.  He had been in Iran working to build an orphanage and visit family.

Acknowledging the difficulty the United States government has in dealing with the issue since there are no formal diplomatic arrangements with Iran, Risch pushed to keep up efforts to secure Abedini’s release.

“On behalf of Idahoans I want to communicate to you how incredibly important this is to us and I want to enlist you, as I know you have done, to make every effort you possibly can to secure his freedom,” Risch said at the hearing.

Abedini is one of three Americans being held in Iran.  Abedini was placed under house arrest in June, 2012, put in prison in September and sentenced to Evin prison for eight years in January, 2013.

His wife, Naghmeh, and children live in the Boise area.

A YouTube video of Senator Risch’s questions and the State Department response can be seen in this link: