An effort to secure the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini
Proposal letter to Grand Ayatollah Khamenei
To the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran:
I am writing to you to propose a prisoner exchange for Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini who is currently being held in Rajai Shahr Prison. Effective immediately, I, Río Tenango, volunteer to serve Saeed Abedini’s remaining sentence in part or in whole. Such an arrangement would appease the West without compromising the national support base of Iranian politicians. In consideration of Mr. Abedini’s failing health, this approach would also circumvent diplomatic setbacks that would result from Mr. Abedini’s death while in your care.
Although the implementation of a prisoner exchange may require special consideration at
multiple levels of government, this proposal challenges neither the legal system nor the
sovereignty of your nation. It is important to note that my intentions are not based in legal
protest, as I acknowledge that Mr. Abedini participated in religious activities at odds with Iranian law, whether written or implied. Since your acceptance of my offer would highlight your courts’ existing capacity for individual case review, the international community would have no grounds on which to protest your governance of my presence within your prison facility.
It may be of interest to know this is not the first time I have risked my personal welfare on the international stage in an independent and unconventional manner. In 2008, I played an unofficial, yet significant, role in preventing the deaths of thousands of Muslims in Sudan. Today, as Pastor Abedini’s detention remains a source of contention between Iran and the United States, my conscience again denies me spectator-status. If a single selfless act by a single common man can help unlock the horns of two great nations, then who am I to stand aside?
Since I, too, am a person of strong faith, I understand your position regarding Mr. Abedini’s actions. Your policies merely represent an unyielding desire to maintain the integrity of the Islamic faith. As I am not well versed in the content of the Koran or the nuances of Iranian law, I will not speak to you of justice. My plea hinges solely on your ongoing capacity for mercy.