For more than three years, Iranian American pastor Saeed Abedini sat in an Iranian prison, where interrogators beat him and pressured him to recant his faith. Freed this January in a prisoner swap initiated by President Obama, Abedini is now in the United States, where many Christians and religious-liberty groups had prayed and campaigned for his release.
The homecoming has been bittersweet. Last fall, Naghmeh Abedini—who had campaigned tirelessly for her husband—told supporters via email that her marriage has included “physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse (through Saeed’s addiction to pornography).” She has since filed for legal separation. Christianity Today reported on Naghmeh’s emails last fall, and will continue to report on legal developments involving the Abedinis.
Meanwhile, CT print managing editor Katelyn Beaty recently spoke with Saeed about the abuse allegations, how he came to Christ in Iran, and how American Christians have more influence in global affairs than they think.
You’ve been out of prison now for two months. What’s life been like since you’ve returned to the States?
After I got released, it was very different from what I imagined before I got released. I was waiting for more welcome, especially from my family, wife, and the church I went to in Boise, but I didn’t get that. I thought that once I got released from prison, I was going to relax and get time to rest, but the situation got worse. The news, the false accusations—today I can’t feel my freedom yet; it was just like coming out of a prison to another prison.
I’m very sad that the people who have prayed for me for years, some of them with tears and some of ...1