Obama Calls for American Pastor Imprisoned in Iran to Be Released for Persian New YearAccording to a new report from Christian News Network Barack Obama issued a call on Friday for an American pastor imprisoned in Iran to be released for the Persian New Year, which began yesterday. As a tradition during the Iranian holiday Nowruz, some prisoners are set free or receive reduced sentences. Obama called upon the Iranian government on Friday to free Pastor Saeed Abedini during the observance, among other Americans who are also being held in the country. “Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho has spent two and a half years detained in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs,” he said. “He must be returned to his wife and two young children, who needlessly continue to grow up without their father.” As previously reported, Abedini, a former Iranian Muslim turned Christian, left Iran in 2005 and moved to the United States with his wife and two children to find religious freedom after facing conflict with authorities for planting house churches in the county. In 2012, he traveled back to Iran to build an orphanage and visit his parents—and was about to return to the states—when he was taken into custody. Abedini was later charged with threatening the national security of Iran, and for attempting to turn youth in the nation away from Islam and toward Christianity. He was then sentenced to eight years in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, where he has spent the past two years behind bars. FULL REPORT