Tags: Pastor Saeed Abedini | Iran protests | Christians

Riots Are 'Answer to Trump's UN Speech,' Says Ex-Prisoner of Iranian Regime

Riots Are 'Answer to Trump's UN Speech,' Says Ex-Prisoner of Iranian Regime

A woman holds a necklace with a photograph of Saeed Abedini (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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Sunday, 31 December 2017 05:35 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini, a former prisoner of Iran's theocratic regime for three years, says the ongoing riots throughout the Islamic Republic are "an answer to President Trump's speech at the United Nations."

Speaking to Newsmax on Saturday night, Abedini – jailed in Iran in 2013 for threatening "national security" by holding Christian meetings and released in 2016 – told us that the demonstrators' chant of "Leave Syria alone, do something for us" was almost precisely what Trump said in his UN speech September 19. In that speech, the U.S. president charged that the theocratic regime in Iran uses "its oil profits [to] go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims," that it "also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship [in Syria]," and that "the longest suffering victims of Iran's leaders are, in fact, its own people."

"The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change," Trump said at the UN, emphasizing that "Iran's people are what their leaders fear the most. This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protestors and imprison political reformers."

With the protests now spreading to 31 cities as of Saturday night, Abedini said the similarities between what Trump said and what the demonstrators were saying "are the Iranian way of giving the U.S. a second chance with them." By that, he explained, many Iranians felt disappointed in '09 when President Obama refused to publicly embrace the Iranian Green Movement, which was protesting what they considered the fraudulent re-election of then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over insurgent challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi. The resulting protest movement in 2009-10, known as "Persian Awakening," was the largest protest against the ruling regime until those that began four days ago.

Abedini is not sure what these protests will lead to should the Islamic Republic fall. "We have opposition leaders in exile, such as the young Reza Pahlavi (son of the Shah of Iran, who was overthrown in 1979 by Islamic fundamentalists led by the Ayatollah Khomeni) and the National Council of Iranian Resistance (the largest group of Iranian exiles, who claim to be the political heirs of neutralist Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, ousted in 1953 by a U.S.-backed coup that re-installed the Shah in power). But they all represent Iran's past, and Iran, I feel, should have something new to its politics in the future – just as the U.S. got something new and unique in electing Donald Trump as president."

Since his release from captivity in '16, Abedini has had some bad experiences. These include a divorce and some public differences with Rev. Franklin Graham over how much the North Carolina clergyman worked for his release. But he remains in touch with numerous Members of Congress – notably, Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., who helped publicize Abedini's plight in prison – and is frequently sought out by the press for his view of the situation in Iran.

"Let me emphasize something," he told us. "Iranians love Americans. They are glad Americans are starting to watch what is now happening to them. But watching is not enough."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini, a former prisoner of Iran's theocratic regime for three years, says the ongoing riots throughout the Islamic Republic are "an answer to President Trump's speech at the United Nations."Speaking to Newsmax on Saturday night, Abedini - jailed in...
Pastor Saeed Abedini, Iran protests, Christians
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Sunday, 31 December 2017 05:35 PM
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