All Jacob Abedini wants for his birthday (Tuesday, March 17) is to have his dad home. He even invited his dad to his birthday party (see invitation) – a party that sadly won’t be complete because Jacob’s dad won’t be there.  

It’s been nearly two and a half years now since Jacob’s dad, Pastor Saeed Abedini, has been imprisoned in Iran because of his Christian faith.

With the U.S. moving even closer to striking a nuclear deal with Iran, it’s time for President Obama to take that pledge to secure Pastor Saeed’s release and make it happen.

And, on this day – the day Jacob turns seven – his dad is still languishing in prison – separated from his son, his daughter and his wife – still in need of medical care – still facing an uncertain fate.

With the U.S. moving even closer to striking a nuclear deal with Iran, it’s time for President Obama to take that pledge to secure Pastor Saeed’s release and make it happen.

In a visit with a family member last week, Pastor Saeed sent a birthday letter from his prison cell to Jacob – expressing his deep love and concern for his family and his unwavering commitment to his faith in Jesus Christ:

To my dear beloved son Jacob,

I saw your beautiful birthday invitation that you had made me and I know how much you want me to be there on your birthday. Daddy loves you so much.  I long to be there for your birthday and to make this reunion happen, but my chains are keeping me from you.

I want you to know that although I might NOT BE THERE and you might feel my absence, there is One who always IS. One who is always there with you and who can meet all of your needs under any condition. I might not be there on your birthday and that breaks my heart as your father. But I know the One who is there on your birthday who is there for you and cares for you more than anyone could imagine. HE IS THERE with you and His name is I AM WHO I AM.

I AM WHO I AM. It means that God is there with you in every situation that you are going through. . . .

Today there are many people around the world who are experiencing the same things that the people of God were experiencing and that you are experiencing. They are crying out to God and might not be feeling His Presence. They are wondering where is God in all of this. But I want you to remember that despite what you feel, He is always there with you. . . .

So happy birthday to my big boy and my hero, Jacob Cyrus Abedini. Thank you for standing strong with me in this battle for the Glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Your proud Dad, 

Saeed

Jacob and the Abedini family hope this is the last birthday celebration Pastor Saeed will miss.

At the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), our team is doing everything we can in this country and abroad to bring Pastor Saeed home to his family.

Just days ago, in Geneva, our European team appeared before the U.N. Human Rights Council, making another impassioned plea for Pastor Saeed’s freedom. Noting that the U.N.’s own findings determined that Pastor Saeed’s detention was “arbitrary” and urged his immediate release, our team once again raised Pastor Saeed’s plight on the world stage and demand that Iran release this U.S. citizen whose fundamental human and religious rights are being violated.

In Washington, we’ve also been able to raise Pastor Saeed’s plight before Congress again. In a powerful hearing before a Senate panel last week, I testified about the plight of persecuted Christians across the globe and emphasized that each and every time we raise our voices for Pastor Saeed it helps keep him alive as we fight for his freedom.

When President Obama met with Pastor Saeed’s wife and children last month, he told Jacob that he would “try” to bring his dad home for his birthday. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The president told the Abedini family that Pastor Saeed’s freedom was a “top priority” for him and his Administration.

Now, with the U.S. moving even closer to striking a nuclear deal with Iran, it’s time for President Obama to take that pledge to secure Pastor Saeed’s release and make it happen.

Clearly, there’s a lot at stake as these negotiations continue to unfold.

The world is watching. And, so is 7-year-old Jacob Abedini.

Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. He’s a New York Times bestselling author. Jay’s latest book – “Unholy Alliance: The Agenda Iran, Russia, and Jihadists Share for Conquering the World” – is available now.  He hosts "Jay Sekulow Live"-- a daily radio show which is broadcast on more than 850 stations nationwide as well as Sirius/XM satellite radio. Follow him on Twitter @JaySekulow.