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. M.A.P.

    This is just once again the GOP trying to use a tragic event to score some cheap political points from easily influenced "conservatives" (i.e uneducated lazy fox news followers). An absolute joke. What would George Bush have done differently? NOTHING. This just goes to show again that Republicans are not mature enough for high office. We need a new opposition party. A new conservative movement that isnt held for ransom by a minority of extremists.

    September 27, 2013 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  2. GDB in KS

    I feel forAbedini as I feel for many unjustly incarcerated americans in the harder parts of the world; this, however, is a show planned to get in the way of the first substantive talks with Iran in 30! years. I like many of your ideas and your boldness Ted, but a thinking man who is also a patriot should put the good of his country ahead of his budding political career. -1 Mr. Cruz. If you want to be better than the normal politician, BE BETTER!

    September 27, 2013 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  3. JJ Jones

    Cruz is such a fraud

    September 27, 2013 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  4. Matt

    So, Cruz's priorities are (in order) Israel, then detained Americans.
    This is what is wrong with America, its politicians are beholden to a foreign government.
    It is a good thing that the masses are brainwashed into thinking that Israel is America's ally, otherwise this would look treasonous.

    September 27, 2013 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  5. Mr Johnson

    SHouldn't he be "working" instead of appearing in all of the photo-ops? Then again, he still recevies his paycheck and benefits when the government shuts donw.

    September 27, 2013 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  6. Jason

    Isn't there something in the Bible about showing off for the neighbors religiously? Doesn't God dislike that? You know when you make a big deal about kneeling for people to see but not out of conviction? Doesn't God prefer good people over people who only pretend to be good?

    September 27, 2013 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  7. John Adams

    Cnn puts out some meat for the skulls full of negativity and resentment. Lol Mr Cruz has rattled the cage but the green eggs and ham comments make me laugh because it could be two things. 1. You didn't listen and you let your masters do the thinking for you (again) 2. You are allergic to freedom . That being said when you have no substance to debate Mr. Cruz on his real talking points of his epic speech and resort to just name calling. It challenedges the theory of lib intellect And put some more of the light on higher education brainwashing that put you all at an disadvantedge when it comes liberty and talk of the constitution.

    September 27, 2013 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  8. Dude

    Did you hear about the Iranian who was setting up a secret web of Mosques in people's basements so he and his friends could spread their version of Islam and recruit Americans without the US government knowing anything about it?

    Well, it happened. Except:
    He wasn't Iranian, he was American,
    It wasn't a web of mosques, it was a web of churches.
    They weren't spreading Islam and recruiting Americans, they were spreading Christianity and recruiting Iranians.
    And he wasn't avoiding the American government, he was avoiding the Iranian government.

    But, let's face it. If the exact same thing were happening here, we'd all be screaming about homeland security and assuming he was a terrorist.

    I work nights and sleep days. I have put up signs on my door telling missionaries and sales people etc not to knock ring the bell. If I have 20 signs up the missionaries will find a 21st synonymy and ring the bell, wake me up and explain how none of the 20 signs pertain to them. Then they will start telling me now much their beliefs are better than mine. Frankly, when I hear about a government throwing missionaries in jail, I tend to think they have a point.

    September 27, 2013 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  9. Elijah

    That is a very heart warming picture of the senators on their knees praying to Almighty God.

    Amazing and encouraging!!!

    September 27, 2013 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  10. g

    how many being held at gitmo for their religion believes

    September 27, 2013 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  11. Sue

    President Obama has been trying to get the Pastor back for months now. He's had the diplomats trying to get the man released practically from the beginning. Just because he hasn't talked about it publicly every day doesn't mean they're ignoring it.

    September 27, 2013 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  12. M.A.P.

    "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."

    Yeah well aparantly Ted Cruz voted with the democrats in the end anyway. So why do YOU think he spent 22 hours talking non-stop in congress? What Wendy did was real, your whining and complaining can't take that away.

    September 27, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  13. berniecat@outlook.com

    @sorry tommy ,, but davis was standing up for others rights and cruz was standing to take away rights ! big difference and show who really cares about our constitution ,, NOT the GOP ,,, they are the ones always trying to take rights , deny rights and prevent rights ,, not ever a liberal ! so keep your laughter to yourself

    September 27, 2013 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  14. MasterBlaster

    Rouhani says this incarnation thing is a two way street. America has Iranian Citizens in American jails that should be set free too.
    Mr. Rouhani I ask you; How many Iranians are incarcerated in American Jails souly because of their religious belives?
    I think it would be FAIR if both countries release ONLY RELIGIOUS PRISONERS!
    Mr. Rouhani can you handle that? It is FAIR.......

    September 27, 2013 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  15. A Dose of Reality

    Why don't they just pray for his release? Afterall, GAwd Bless('s) Merika!

    September 27, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  16. Eddie B

    He is trying to get his base attention we know his heart is cold.

    September 27, 2013 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  17. KieranH

    Cruz got tired of reading Dr. Seuss, voted with the democrats to fund the AHA, and now has something else to consume his 10 brain cells.

    Disclaimer: I am not a liberal, you conservative dinosaurs....

    September 27, 2013 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  18. works4me

    phony... the male version of Sarah Palin!

    September 27, 2013 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  19. Zaphod

    So a freshman senator believes he has the right to pass legislation to determine the conditions that the President of the United States will meet with someone?

    September 27, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  20. Intelligence

    Prayer? How's that working for ya?

    September 27, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  21. djmatte

    Since when could congress legislate whom and on what terms the president can meet a foreign dignitary? Why are we spending so much time on bills that we know are doa? All this for a sound bite and making a presidential name. Mr Cruz I'm not voting for you even if you end up the final nominee next election cycle.

    September 27, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  22. independant jim

    Wendy Davis didn't read green eggs and ham and she was filibustering against a proposed law not a passed law

    September 27, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  23. independant jim

    what makes you think this pastor is wrongfully imprisoned

    September 27, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  24. Jim Bob Sweeney

    What a tool this guy is...
    I can't believe the sane people of Texas would elect him.
    Oh. Wait... Never mind...

    September 27, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  25. The Realist

    Cruz demands "that Rouhani affirm Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state."

    That so called "right to exist " is actually the "Jewish right to steal" isn't it?

    Or, is it "divine right"?

    Is it "right of conquest"?

    Either way, Mr. Cruz is dumping on everything Americans hold dear.

    "Consent of the governed"? No, just the consent of a Jew.

    "Created equal"? Not a chance, just the "chosen people".

    September 27, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
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