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Kerry Urges Release Of Iran Pastor

Saeed Abedini, pictured here with his wife and children.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on Iranian authorities to immediately free an Iranian-American Christian pastor who has been sentenced to eight years in jail.

In a written statement, Kerry said he was "deeply concerned" about the fate of Saeed Abedini.

The top U.S. diplomat said he was "disturbed” by reports that Abedini has suffered physical and psychological abuse in prison, and that his condition has become increasingly dire.

The statement said “such mistreatment violates international norms as well as Iran's own laws."

Abedini, a naturalized U.S. citizen who converted to Christianity, was sentenced in late January.

He has denied charges of attempting to undermine Iranian state security by creating a network of Christian churches in private homes.

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