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US 'aware' of report of jailed pastor in Iran

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December 20, 2012 11:30 AM EST | AP


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The U.S. State Department says it is in contact with the family of a man described by activists as an Iranian-American Christian pastor jailed in Tehran.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday in Washington that officials were "aware of the case," but could give no further details due to "privacy considerations."

Rights groups say the pastor, Saeed Abedini, has been held since late September after being arrested while visiting family.

Specific charges are unknown and Iranian officials have made no comment. Some activists believe Abedini, who became a U.S. citizen in 2010, was jailed for trying to convert Muslims – a crime in Iran that could lead to capital punishment.

Idaho TV station KBOI reports Abedini attends a church in Boise and returns regularly to his native Iran.