by David Roach
Renewed discussion of the prisoner releases, which were first reported years ago, has spurred fresh criticism of the Obama administration for not securing the release of American pastor Saeed Abedini and three other missing or detained Americans as part of a nuclear deal.
"Are the Iranian guards going by Pastor Abedini's cell and saying, 'They didn't even try to put you in the deal, pastor'?" said Frank Wolf, a retired Republican congressman and human rights advocate. "It has always been a fact of life that when America raises [political prisoners] by name over and over and over, that makes their life better in prison ... and is the fastest way to get them out of prison."
Wolf told Baptist Press the release of Iranian prisoners "absolutely" heightens the injustice of the nuclear deal. Release of American detainees "probably should have even been a precondition" of nuclear negotiations, with Iranian diplomats being told, "We won't even begin to sit down and begin to talk until you release them." At minimum, the release of American prisoners "should have been a part of any deal..."