By J.C. Derrick
WASHINGTON—Republican lawmakers blasted the Obama administration on Thursday for negotiating with Iran without demanding the release of three U.S. prisoners being held in the country.
The comments came at a joint subcommittee hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned American citizen and pastor Saeed Abedini, headlined the panel of witnesses, telling members, “I felt abandoned,” when learning that U.S. negotiators didn’t ask for her husband’s release before or during the recent talks.
“I had anticipated that I would battle the Iranian government to release my husband. I didn’t expect to battle with my own government,” said Naghmeh, who has spent the past 15 months crisscrossing the country to build support for her husband.
Naghmeh read from a letter her husband sent her from Iran in which he said it is “heartbreaking” to see pictures of his family knowing they are living life without him.
“I came here to help the kids that did not have mommies and daddies, but my own kids lost their daddy,” Saeed wrote. “I want you to know that I did not want to put so much pressure on your little shoulders, my precious children.”