Update: Rep. Simpson (R-ID) has also released a statement regarding Saeed Abedini.
“Congress has been urging the Administration to secure the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini and other Americans wrongly detained in Iran for far too long, and the failure to do so was among the many reasons I opposed the Iran nuclear deal. I’m extremely grateful that these Americans will finally be returning home where they belong.” - Rep. Mike Simpson
Original post: Idaho's elected officials are now reacting publicly to Saturday's news that Boise pastor Saeed Abedini is being released from Iranian custody. His release is part of a deal negotiated by the U.S State Department.
Jim Risch, a Republican Senator, was the first in Idaho's Congressional delegation to issue a statement. Risch has been a leading advocate in Washington D.C. for the government to negotiate Abedini's release. He expressed frustration that Abedini was even in custody, and that the release didn't occur until now.
“Pastor Abedini should never have been in prison in the first place. He certainly should have been released prior to the administration making any kind of deal with the Iranians. We are certainly happy that Pastor Abedini and the other Americans have been released and that should have been done long ago.” - Sen. Jim Risch
A request for further comment from Risch was declined, via his press officer.
Shortly after Risch's statement, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) released his version.
“Becca and I are grateful that Pastor Saeed Abedini and four other Americans have finally been freed by their captors. We are happy for Saeed’s family and the thousands of prayerful Idahoans who have supported them through this three-and-a-half-year ordeal. I hope others join us in respecting the family’s privacy and giving them time to heal.” - Rep. Raul Labrador
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) was the next to release a statement. All three statements were issued within seven minutes of one another.
“If media reports are confirmed, the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini is welcome news and an answer to many prayers from across Idaho, the nation and the world. Iran's holding of Pastor Abedini was outrageous and it was far past time for him to be released. As his wife and family await official confirmation of his return, I send my warmest ‘welcome home’ to Saeed." - Sen. Mike Crapo
As of 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) was the only member of the state's Congressional delegation not to issue a statement on Abedini's release.
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