An American-Iranian Christian pastor, Saeed Abedini, 33 years old, is now in an Iranian dungeon prison. Born to a devout Moslem family in Iran, he was recruited to become a suicide bomber at age 20.
As he witnessed the hatred and brutality of his Moslem trainers, he decided that Islam was not for him. He trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior and converted to Christianity. Soon he began to openly proclaim his faith in Christ.
In the early 2000's, Abedini headed up 100 house churches in 30 cities, reaching about 2,000 members when the movement was tolerated by the Iranian government. But with the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005, the house church movement was subjected to a crackdown by Iranian authorities, and the Abedini family moved to the United States.
However, Abedini continued to visit Iran often. In 2009 he was arrested and forced to sign a document saying that he would never again involve himself with the Iranian house church movement. In July 2012 he returned to Iran for a humanitarian project, the founding of an orphanage. Later that year he was arrested and sentenced to eight yerars in prison for having "undermined the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches, and for attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam."
Abedini was told he would serve his time in Evin prison, a very brutal penitentiary. But in early November, 2013, he was transferred to the infamous Rajai Shahr prison, a place they send men to disappear. A Dutch diplomat from their embassy in Tehran described the prison this way: Once in there, one stops being a human being.
Abedini is one of three innocent Americans locked up in these most horrific and life threatening conditions.
On December 7, 2011, U.S. authorities siezed Mojtaba Atarodi, an Iranian nuclear scientist, at the Los Angeles airport. He was arrested by U.S. agents for trying to procure nuclear weapons parts.
Obviously, Iran was ready to pay a high price to get him back.
However, late last year President Barack Obama in his “quiet diplomacy” released this member of Iran's nuclear science team.
"This is betrayal," Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, told Fox News. "A betrayal because we did not get the release of the three Americans." Sekulow said it should have been easy for the U.S. to insist on the release of the three Americans in return for the release of the Iranian scientist.
The Ayatollah's goal is to become a nuclear weapons power as a step to becoming the superpower in the Middle East and spreading his brand of Islamic Sharia law throughout the Arab countries, and then to the rest of the world. One way he plans to demonstrate his power is to blow Israel off the map. At this point he does not believe that anyone will come to Israel's rescue.
The Ayatollah's immediate goal is to do whatever it takes, except give up his nuclear facilities, to get rid of the sanctions that have brought his economy to a near grinding halt. He knows that mega-companies around the world can hardly wait to rush in to make millions through new investments in Iran. He has sent out his secret weapons - smiling Iranian negotiators, while uranium production continues. The West seems captivated.
Lebanon has called Obama's agreement to relieve sanctions "the deal of the century." Syria and Hezbulleh considered the agreement "a geat victory for Iran." There are two giant reasons for their celebration. 1. Sanctions are being lifted, and they will most likely collapse completely as businesses pour into Iran. 2. For the first time, Obama in behalf of the U.S. has publicly authorized Iran to produce uranium, supposedly for peaceful purposes, of course.
Israel is feeling bitter, dismayed with a helpless sense of "I told you so." That elaborate wall of sanctions, painstakingly constructed over several years, is already crumbling and will collapse within months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lamented. "If tangible steps are not taken soon, the efforts of years will vanish without anything in exchange," he stated.
He also forewarned, "Today there is a regime in Iran that supports terrorism, facilitates the massacre of innocent civilians in Syria, and unceasingly arms its proxies - Hamas, Hezbulleh, and Islamic Jihad - with deadly missiles. The Geneva Deal is a "historic mistake," he said, "and Israel is not bound by it." In fact, "once more the Jewish people and the nation of Israel have been betrayed."
But American officials suggest that American public opinion is simply weary of conflict after over a decade of military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this dictates that the administration put matters of Middle East foreign policy on the back burner. Sorrowfully, the Americans and Europeans will undoubtedly regret it.
Dr. Al Snyder is a former professor of Communications at Liberty University in Virginia and North Greenville University. He has done extensive missionary work in Israel and Africa.