Sen. Ted Cruz praised President Barack Obama on Saturday for discussing the status of jailed American minister Saeed Abedini with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani this week.
Abedini was arrested on Sept. 26, 2012, while building an orphanage in Iran
. He was sentenced in January to eight years in prison on charges of endangering national security.
His supporters have said that Abedini had the permission of the Iranian government.
In his meeting on Friday with Rouhani, Obama indicated that the U.S. hoped that Abedini would be reunited with his family, a White House official told Politico
The American president expressed similar concerns about two other U.S. citizens who are also believed to be held in Iran, according to Politico.
“He did the right thing,” Cruz said of Obama's efforts, Politico reports.
Earlier this week, the Texas Republican spoke 21 hours and 19 minutes against Obamacare, the president's signature domestic policy achievement, on the Senate floor.
Cruz's remarks came as he urged Congress to pass a resolution that affirmed Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and that sought the release of prisoners in Iran without conditions.
“Congress needs to send a strong signal that direct communication with the leader of the free world is a privilege, particularly for a regime that has been as hostile as Iran has been towards America for more than three decades," Cruz said. "President Rouhani needs to take these two simple steps to demonstrate good faith before any further discussions."
In addition, Cruz joined about 100 people on Thursday in a prayer-and-protest vigil in front of the White House on the first anniversary of Abedini's imprisonment. Others attending included pastors and members of Congress, The Christian Post reports.
"We are here today on a somber moment," Cruz said. "Pastor Abedini's only crime was professing his Christian faith, following the Great Commission of the Gospel."
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