By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
TEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News)– In Iran, an Iranian-born American pastor with dual citizenship remains behind bars in Evin prison for the holidays.
As the Islamic Republic doesn't recognize dual citizenship, it has no obligation to honor any inquiries from the U.S. State Department after Iran's Revolutionary Guard arrested Pastor Saeed Abedini as he arrived to visit his parents. Although Iran refused to reveal the charges, the American Center for Law and Justice said Abedini is imprisoned because he ran a network of house churches when he lived in Iran. The Center's Executive Director, Jordan Sekulow, told World Net Daily that Abedini's arrest is symptomatic of the Republic's regime.
"Iran has commonly employed intimidation tactics to stop the spread of Christianity and the growth of the underground house church," he said. "By throwing him in prison under the threat of a long prison sentence, and possibly death, Iran knows that it can intimidate those who followed Pastor Saeed's leadership.
"Since detaining Pastor Saeed, the government has sought out congregants of the underground house church network he used to lead. Many of these congregants have been interrogated and threatened. In essence, through intimidation, Iran hopes to strangle the growing underground house churches."
Sekulow said Iran could also use the pastor for political purposes.
"While we hope that Pastor Saeed will not become a political bargaining chip for Iran, we recognize that Iran has in the past used American prisoners as such. Iran also knows, however, that it is currently on very thin ice diplomatically with many of its trade partners, and exposing its flagrant violations of human rights to the world could crack the ice."