Boise pastor faces Iranian judge Monday

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- On Monday, Boise pastor Saeed Abedini is scheduled to stand trial in Tehran and his life is on the line.

Abedini, a 32-year-old Iranian-American, is a member of the Calvary Chapel in Boise where fellow church members are praying for his release and safe return.

"It's our best weapon," said Calvary Chapel's Lauren Phillips. "It's the only thing we know to do is pray. And to ask people to get involved."

On Wednesday, U.S. Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo of Idaho sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton , urging action to help free Abedini before the trial in front of an Iranian judge known as "the hanging judge".

It's a difficult situation because the United States and Iran do not have diplomatic relations.

And a Washington, D.C. human rights group, the American Center for Law and Justice, says the U.S. Government is dragging its feet.

"Obviously, the political climate between us and Iran is the worst its been in years," said the center's Tiffany Barrans. "We are concerned Saeed's life is being used as a political pawn."

Tehran says Abedini, who became an American citizen in 2010, was trying to convert Muslims to Christianity -- a capital crime in Iran.

But Abedini's friends say he was only finalizing plans for an orphanage and has made several trips between his native Iran and Boise for that purpose.