Todd Starnes of Fox News continued his tradition of blatantly lying in order to support maintain his narrative that President Obama is persecuting Christians, this time telling the Values Voters Summit that President Obama refuses to address the case of Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor in Iranian jail.
“Our President, who travels across the globe apologizing for the United States of America, yet he cannot utter the words ‘Saeed Abedini’ from his lips,” Starnes said. “What is our President doing about it? Why isn’t he picking up the phone, talking to his new BFF, the Iranian president? Yet at this very moment an American pastor sits in a Muslim country’s jail and we do nothing about it.”
Such a claim would be disturbing but Obama actually did talk about Abedini’s imprisonment when he spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the phone.
And guess who reported on it?
Starnes’ very own Fox News:
A senior administration official tells Fox News that in addition to the issue of nuclear weapons and the broader relationship between the two nations, Obama expressed concern about the pastor—who was been incarcerated for a year at Evin Prison in Tehran —along with two other U.S. citizens.
“Obama also noted our concern about three American citizens who have been held within Iran: Robert Levinson [who is missing], Saeed Abedini, and Amir Hekmati, and noted our interest in seeing those Americans reunited with their families,” the official told Fox News.
Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, immediately said the report of the call was “the most encouraging news I have heard since Saeed was imprisoned one year ago. I am very grateful to President Obama for standing up for Saeed and for the other Americans who are held captive in Iran. This development is truly an answer to prayer.”
The discussion marked the first time that Obama has mentioned Abedini and his plight since he was jailed last fall. He has never spoken out about Abedini’s imprisonment but the State Department has repeatedly condemned Iran for holding him.
“We’re very encouraged by President Obama raising the illegal imprisonment of American Saeed Abedini with Iranian President Rouhani,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Saeed’s wife Naghmeh and their two children, said when told about the latest development by FoxNews.com.
“President Obama’s call to President Rouhani to release Saeed so he can be reunited with his family is a significant step forward in this critical case. We’re grateful to President Obama for raising Saeed’s imprisonment and call on President Rouhani to put his promise of being ‘moderate’ into action by releasing Saeed without further delay.”
The Christian Post, where Starnes is an op-ed contributor, adds:
Pastor Saeed Abedini has found out that President Barack Obama spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and pressed for his release last week, which is said to provide the American citizen a “glimmer of hope” that he might finally be released.
“For the first time, Pastor Saeed had a glimmer of hope that he would soon be released. Iranian news sources had reported on President Obama’s phone call with President Rouhani.”
Obama’s historic conversation with Rouhani on Friday was the first time an American and Iranian president have spoken in 34 years, and has brought notable encouragement to the Abedini family, who have been petitioning for the pastor’s release.
But Starnes will discount such reporting—even when it is from his own employer—because it doesn’t fit his narrative that Obama is leading a wave of anti-Christian discrimination.