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ICC Note: It has been over 500 days since Saeed Abedini was taken into custody in Iran. The toll that this situation has taken on his family is a story that sheds light on the impact of religious persecution around the world. Naghmeh Abedini speaks candidly about the story and the importance of speaking out concerning religious liberty.
By Trillia Newbell
02/19/2014 Iran (ERLC) – On a hot summer day in 2012, Naghmeh Abedini drove her husband Saeed to the airport in Idaho. They shared a casual goodbye, assuming they’d see one another in two or three weeks. Instead he found himself imprisoned in an Iranian jail. They haven’t seen or spoken to one another since that day.
Saeed, 33, was sentenced to eight years in prison after returning to Iran for a work trip. This began an almost two year nightmare for Naghmeh, who is now fighting for his release while raising their two children on her own.
“It has been the hardest time of my life,” Naghmeh said of his imprisonment. “I feel like my life was taken from me. I experienced extreme anxiety and depression at first. I cried out to the Lord and felt like the woman bleeding for 12 years” (Mark 5:25-34).
Saeed’s imprisonment has caught the attention of major news sources as well as President Obama.
At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, the president mentioned Saeed in his call for international religious freedom: “We pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini. He’s been held in Iran for more than 18 months, sentenced to eight years in prison on charges relating to his Christian beliefs. And as we continue to work for his freedom, today, again, we call on the Iranian government to release Pastor Abedini so he can return to the loving arms of his wife and children in Idaho.”
Naghmeh believes President Obama’s inclusion of Saeed is a result of the people of the United States taking interest in her story and standing up for religious liberty. “When the president speaks, he speaks about things that matter to the American people. Millions of people have been behind me–signing petitions, writing letters. When [the president] shared [my husband’s story] I knew that the American people had been speaking out,” she said.

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