by Benjamin Siegel
Naghmeh Abedini, married to pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for three years, says the leader of the Catholic church would be a strong advocate for the release of her husband and the two other Americans being held in Iran.
“He would be a crucial voice in getting Saeed out of prison,” she said. “They respect the pope, as a theocracy.”
Abedini has lobbied the Vatican for help releasing her husband, and will attend the pope's address to Congress Thursday as the guest of Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-North Carolina, who has helped advocate for her husband's freedom in Congress.
Saeed Abedini, along with Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and former Marine Amir Hekmati are being held in Iranian prisons on what the United States considers trumped-up charges. A fourth American, retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, was kidnapped in Iran in 2007 and is thought to be held in the country.
Naghmeh Abedini's call for the pope’s assistance follows a report from Politico that the United States has asked the Vatican for help freeing Abedini and the other Americans held in Iran.
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said Wednesday the administration has "pursued a variety of avenues" to free the Americans held in Iran, adding that the ongoing efforts "are more effective when we don't talk about them publicly."
"The pope is clearly someone with significant moral influence even with those who are not Catholic," he continued...