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Iran’s parliament passed a bill on Tuesday supporting a nuclear deal with world powers(Reuters) signaling a victory for the government over conservative opponents of the agreement and clearing the way for it to be implemented.
Many lawmakers strongly opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that President Hassan Rouhani’s government reached with world powers on July 14, and Tuesday’s vote removes an obstacle to putting the agreement into practice.
“Members of parliament made a well-considered decision today showing they have a good understanding of the country’s situation,” government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said in a televised news conference after the vote.
The bill was passed with 161 votes for, 59 against and 13 abstentions, state news agency IRNA said. It had passed a preliminary vote on Sunday by a smaller margin, and will now be submitted to a clerical body for final approval and passage into law.
The bill stipulates that inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, need approval from a top Iranian security body before visiting military sites, leaving the possibility that disagreements could still arise.
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This image made from video broadcast on Press TV, Iran's English language state-run channel, shows U.S. President Barack Obama with Vice President Joe Biden standing by, making a statement following the announcement of the Iran nuclear deal.
July 14, 2015.
This image taken from video broadcast on Press TV, Iran's English language state-run channel, shows President Hassan Rouhani making a statement hailing 'a new chapter' in relations with the world, following the announcement of the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran.
Last year, the Senate called on President Obama to “use the tools it has in pursuit of what should be a bipartisan goal: securing the release of American citizens being held as hostages by the regime in Iran.” Today, in the announcement of a nuclear deal with Iran that ignores the plight of these three hostages, the Obama administration has left behind a Christian preacher, a journalist, and a U.S. Marine.
On Tuesday, chief diplomats from the Obama Administration announced that they had struck a deal with Iran on the Islamist regime’s nuclear ambitions and the Western sanctions which have crippled the Iranian economy. Conspicuously absent from that deal, however, is the release of three high-profile Americans the Iranians are holding as political prisoners. Below, their stories, and how their actions threatened the Iranian regime so profoundly as to land them in prison indefinitely.
Saeed Abedini is an Iranian American missionary who went to Iran to spread the Gospel of Christ.
Although it officially allows freedom of religion for Christians and Jews, the Islamist regime in Iran, headed by the cleric Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, officially bans proselytizing and other forms of missionary work. It also bans apostatizing—or leaving—the Islamic faith.
In 2012, when the regime caught Pastor Abedini helping Iranian Christians evangelize and establish home churches, they arrested him and gave him a sentence of eight years in prison.
From that point on, Abedini has faced systematic mistreatment.
Originally held in a notorious prison filled with political prisoners, Abedini was recently moved to an even more violent prison.
“Now I’m even more afraid for his life,” said his wife, Naghmeh Abedini, who lives in Boise with their two children. “The blow that has come with this news has been even harder than the blow that came with his initial arrest.”
ISIS militants who are kept in the same prison as Pastor Abedini issued death threats against him, saying that he deserves to die for his Christian faith. Iran has done little to minimize his contact with these violent extremists.
In June, the American Center for Law and Justice, an advocacy group pushing for freeing Iranian political prisoners, released information from the Pastor’s family that he had been viciously beaten by his fellow prisoners. The Iranian guards did little to intervene until they thought Abedini’s life was in danger.
“It is heartbreaking to me and my family that Saeed was again beaten in prison. Saeed’s life is continuously threatened not only because he is an American, but also because he is a convert from Islam to Christianity. It’s time to get Saeed home before it is too late,” his wife said in a statement.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (2nd right), German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (2nd left), British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (left), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (center), and Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz (right) talk prior to their final plenary meeting at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015
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These are the Three American Prisoners Abandoned by the Iran Nuclear Deal