Ted Cruz joins WH protest for detained American pastor in Iran
September 26th, 2013
05:09 PM ET
5 years ago

Ted Cruz joins WH protest for detained American pastor in Iran

Washington (CNN ) – Sen. Ted Cruz joined about 20 protesters and members of different Christian churches outside the White House Thursday to pray for the swift return of an American pastor being held in Iran, reportedly for his Christian beliefs.

Pastor Saeed Abedini has been held in Iran and Thursday marked the one year anniversary of his detention.

Cruz called on the Obama administration to do more to secure the release of Abedini and other Americans being held in Iran.

The Republican senator from Texas said he is sponsoring legislation that would provide "two preconditions" to a meeting between President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The first, he said, would ask "that Rouhani affirm Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state." The second would call on the Iranian president to "release the American prisoners who are suffering in his jail cells right now, including Pastor Abedini."

Iran sentences U.S. pastor to 8 years in prison, group says

Following the remarks, Cruz joined several clergy members in kneeling in front of the White House and offering prayers for the quick and safe return of Abedini.

Earlier this week, CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked the Iranian president about Abedini's detention, as well as several other cases of Americans being held. The Iranian president held open the door to helping resolve the cases, but said it's a two way street.

"I would like to say that we also have people who are in prison here in the United States. And we have all – this is a sort of a mutual request. Um, the U.S. government, who must assist those Iranians, those people who are of Iranian citizenship, who are in prison here, as we should assist those people who have American citizenships that are incarcerated in Iran." Rouhani said.

Filed under: Iran • Ted Cruz • White House
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Brandon

    I'd be more supportive of this move if I didn't know this guy is on all out full-scale publicity seeking tour.

    September 27, 2013 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  2. Mark

    As much as I too would like to see him safely return, I am sick of seeing Cruz; there is nothing this nitwit won;t do to get some face time

    September 27, 2013 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  3. MaryM

    I know, send Cruz to Iran. I am sure they will negotiate with him. Or maybe they will just keep him there

    September 27, 2013 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  4. Juxtapoz

    Ted Cruz is from the government, and he's here to help! Yes indeed, after all the joy Congress has brought to America, by all means let's let ANOTHER Texas Republican take a stab at our foreign policy.

    September 27, 2013 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  5. jango

    except cruz was not fillibustering!!!! this had no purpose at all, except to get attention to himself, heck he even voted for the same thing he asked ppl not to vote for.. minutes after he finished!!!

    September 27, 2013 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  6. Juxtapoz

    "I love how the liberals on here will talk about Ted Cruz doing this for attention (as well as his stand against the ACA yesterday) but Wendy Davis was fillibustering because she believed in her cause. Too funny." – tom

    That's because you're a right-wingnut who doesn't understand that what Cruz did was NOT A FILIBUSTER. THINK, goober: He wound up voting YES on the bill he spent almost a whole day pretending to block, using time that he was GIVEN to speak. Wendy Davis had to fight for every second she had the mic.

    Now, off to bed with you.

    September 27, 2013 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  7. Jackie Rawlings

    The Pastor is well aware of the laws and rules in Iran and knew the risk for breaking their laws. Cruz again show boating while forgetting the US kidnapped innocent men/women/children and tortured them. We released 560 in 2008 after holding them for 7 years with no charges yet Cruz said nothing. We have detainees in Gitmo the President has asked lawmakers to allow to leave and Cruz again is silent. But knowing his game plan means donations for his acting it is likely he will ask this group to donate to him as he did when he read green eggs/ham to Americans on the Senate Floor.

    September 27, 2013 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  8. Skarphace

    What is it about Cruz that the media loves so much? If anybody would make me miss Sarah Palin, it is this freak.

    September 27, 2013 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  9. Sean

    Cruz is defiantly in full campaign mode

    September 27, 2013 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  10. Robert

    Tom here is a small clue. Wendy Davis was actually filibustering. Little Ted was just giving a floor speech that he scheduled in advance and had nothing to do with the pending vote. There is a noted difference however I fear that may be beyond your comprehension level.

    September 27, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  11. CMDM

    tom I, That's because Ted Crus is a joke. Wendy Davis filibustered something that personally affected her. Ted Cruz made a 21 hour speech that didn't amount to anything once he voted in favor of what he was filibustering against. It was a political stunt, nothing more. It is pretty much the same thing as having to 4 year olds, and one of them shouting "Look at me! Look at me!"

    Seriously, Ted Cruz wastes 21 hours of time that could have been spent debating the bill just so he can get the camera time, and then votes for the bill he was so against for 21 hours? Talking about white castle, darth vader, and Dr. Seuss? Do you really think this is appropriate behavior from a senator of the United States? Come on!

    September 27, 2013 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  12. Skarphace

    Maybe Cruz should try and attach a bill to free this pastor from Iran to the debt ceiling increase. We either shut down the government or go to war with Iran. His fellow Teapublicans would go for it since they want our economy to collapse on Obama's watch anyways.

    September 27, 2013 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  13. American

    Ted is a BIG MESS and so is the so called party that follows him. The party of Hate, The party of NO. Whats really sad is the other members of his party are following him like sheep. That is just sad. he will never be the President of this Great country. He is a Wetback from CANADA

    September 27, 2013 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  14. scootfl78

    Cruz is desperately trying to cleanup his image after comparing affordable health care to Nazi Germany. And Cruz is someone who receives FREE health insurance for himself and his family.

    Cruz asked the White House to do more to get the pastor released. He wants the White House to act on getting a religious missionary released, but is against the White House trying to keep kids from being sick because parents can't afford to go to the doctor with health insurance the way it is now. Ted Cruz is a shoe-in for the CPOGA (Classless Piece Of Garbage) Award for 2013.

    September 27, 2013 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  15. Striider

    Why doesn't Ted Cruz go to Iran himself and negotiate the release of Americans being held in their jails? Now that would give him some political capital, and the thanks of a grateful nation. Oh, but it's just so much easier to just mouth off about it, and do nothing else. So pathetic a man.

    September 27, 2013 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  16. m.r.w.

    Pastor Saeed has been forgotton by this administration. Washington has been very consistant about letting an American citizen be beaten near death and refused medical care, while suffering internal bleeding.This has been going on for over a year. The Iraneans jailed in the U.S.A. live like royalty compared to Pastor Saeed, they get better health care than the average working man on our tax dollars. Why would they want to go back to Iran.

    September 27, 2013 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  17. Dispassionate Reason

    Christians have been thrown in jail since the days of the Roman Empire. This minister knew what the worst case outcome might be when he went into a country which refers to itself as an Islamic Republic. He knows that God is with him and will watch over him. What Cruz or any other human being does cannot approach that in any way.

    September 27, 2013 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  18. John

    The Constitution does not give the House that power

    September 27, 2013 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  19. Chris

    There are literally over 500 members of Congress. Yet you see just the same few people constantly shoving their faces in front of the camera.

    September 27, 2013 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  20. SixDegrees

    Is it really too much to ask our representatives, who make several times what the average citizen does just in salary, to buy a suit that fits? Those x-wrinkles across the button in Cruz's jacket scream "I'm too small!" as does the ridiculous lower half of his tie peaking out. Even the part-time help at Men's Wearhouse can come up with a better fit than that.

    And lose the pastel ties, please. Kerry is the most offensive in this regard, but it's a trend that's spreading. Huge note: it makes you look weak. Instead of projecting power, confidence and leadership, it emanates a phosphorescent glow of effete, snobbish dandyism.

    For the sake of the nation, hire a personal stylist for an afternoon, gentlemen.

    September 27, 2013 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  21. James Klimaski

    Under the Constitution foreign policy is reserved for the President. Preconditions would make any effort to meet and resolve the issues of great importance a non-starter. We have seen that in the failed attempts at negotiation between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Senator Cruz has painted himself out of the picture in regards to affordable health care. He is desperately looking for anything to put himself in the news. He should step back and learn to be a constructive legislator and not simply a grandstander. Like Senator Joe McCarthy, he is simply playing for the crowd.

    September 27, 2013 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  22. Jerry

    tom l
    "I love how the liberals on here will talk about Ted Cruz doing this for attention (as well as his stand against the ACA yesterday) but Wendy Davis was fillibustering because she believed in her cause. Too funny."

    September 26, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |

    Tom I, I agree with you 500%. Also, to most liberals, there is nothing wrong with Obama's hypocrisy and consistent lying to the faces of the Américan populace.

    I am a life-long Democrat, but the fact is that Senator Cruz has greatly contributed to the awakening of a sleeping giant (up to now, silent majority). And, that giant is definitely not happy with all the goings on/lies with the Obama administration.

    The Man is on a continuous campaign/golfing/travel mode. No wonder he never has time to address the nation's business.

    Oh well... What else is new?!

    September 27, 2013 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  23. Briggsy

    It is extremely unjust to be imprisoned for preaching the Word, but preaching the Word in Iran or any other muslim country is just asking to become a Christian martyr. Who are these Iranians supposedly unjustly imprisoned in the U.S.? I'd like to hear what it is they were convicted of, and compare their crimes to the pastor's. Oh, and anyone can see that Cruz is running for higher office, That's fine, I hope he gets the nomination, he will be easy to defeat because he is so annoying.

    September 27, 2013 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  24. M.A.P.

    @tom l
    Oh yeah, now blame the President for a pastor being locked up in Iran. Bloody conservatives love to tell Obama what his responsabilities are, yet when they're in power they pass the responsabilities onto other people or cover it up and noone says anything! A bit of consistency would be nice from you "consistent conservatives".

    And BTW being liberal doesn't mean we're not allowed to have a sense of humor (i.e. Turd Cruz). Being mature and relevant during an argument is different to making up a funny nickname. The difference lies in the argument – he wasn't saying Turd Cruz is bad because of the Turd Cruz name. It was a simple play on words. Get it?

    September 27, 2013 05:45 am at 5:45 am |

    Ted Cruz is a great AMERICAN and did exactly what he was elected to do and that was to fight obamacare. That's more than I can say about 90% of elected officials including our President who swore he would not raise taxes one dime yet admitted yesterday that he raised some taxes. You call Ted a right-wing extremist but you know the difference between a right-wing extremist and a left-wing extremist? Right-wing extremist don't go on mass murdering sprees like the left-wingers CO shooter or the Sandy Hook shooter. Even the recent Navy shooter was a big Obama supporter.

    September 27, 2013 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
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