Big news over the weekend, as Boise Pastor Saeed Abedini was released from an Iranian prison after three years, as part of a prisoner swap that also released four other Americans, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.
The Americans released from captivity in Iran Saturday should have been freed in 2014 after the US agreed to give the Tehran regime $700 million a month in sanctions relief, Rep. Robert Pittenger, R.-N.C., told Newsmax hours after the news that four USA prisoners were coming home.
Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, told the Idaho Statesman Monday that she and her two children will fly to meet him on the East Coast to heal and reconnect with him. “We look forward to Saeed’s return and want to thank the millions of people who have stood with us in prayer during this most hard time”, she added.
Raul Labrador: “Becca and I are grateful that Pastor Saeed Abedini and four other Americans have finally been freed by their captors”.
“We’ve diminished the possibility of war between the USA and Iran”, said former Air Force Intelligence Officer Cedric Leighton.
Saeed Abedini’s wife and children have prayed for his release for a long time.
He was arrested in September 2012 and sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of evangelizing, a crime, the Iranian judge ruled, that was “threatening the national security of Iran”.
The freeing of the Americans and the certification marked the beginning of a new era in U.S.-Iranian relations. During his incarceration, he reportedly suffered severe beatings.
Early Saturday, Naghmeh said she got a phone call from the State Department, confirming that her prayers had been answered.
The ACLJ had for years been advocating for Pastor Abedini’s freedom from Iran by organizing prayer vigils, collecting signatures for petitions, and sending letters to the United Nations and Congress. Naghmeh Abedini met with President Barack Obama, who she said promised to work to bring her husband home before his term ends next January. But at the same time she admitting struggling with issues within their marriage, including allegations of emotional abuse.
The article said she believed Abedini’s problems had grown during his time in prison in Iran. During Pope Francis’s address to a joint session of Congress previous year, the Tarheel State lawmaker arranged for her to sit in the gallery and attempted to secure a meeting with the Holy Father and Mrs. Abedini.
“He’ll be home for this birthday”, said Naghmeh.
His family had repeatedly raised fears amid a continuous threat to his life from fellow inmates.
“This evening we are really reminded once again of diplomacy’s power to tackle significant challenges”, he said in Vienna. “They keep asking me ‘When are we going to see him?'”
The president was frequently criticized for not making Abedini’s release a condition of the pact aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.