Pastor freed by Iran reportedly refuses marriage counseling

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Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of naturalized U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini who was detained in Iran in 2012, is pictured in the home of her parents in West Boise, Idaho, January 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ben Klayman.

Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of naturalized U.S. citizen Saeed Abedini who was detained in Iran in 2012, is pictured in the home of her parents in West Boise, Idaho, January 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ben Klayman.

 

saeed abedini

American pastor Saeed Abedini, a Muslim convert to Christianity, was one of several prisoners released by Iran in January as international sanctions imposed over its nuclear program were eased. Abedini’s U.S.-based family is being represented by the American Center for Law and Justice. Photo courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

(RNS) The wife of recently freed Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini is asking her followers on Facebook to pray for her husband to undergo marriage counseling.

Naghmeh Abedini shocked many supporters in November, before his release, by alleging he had abused her. In a Facebook update Monday (March 14), she asked her more than 85,000 followers for prayer and reiterated that abuse “has been a big part of our life together.”

“Once the abuse has been addressed, then that will open the way for us to get marriage counseling on the more common marital issues,” she said.


RELATED STORY: Why imprisoned pastor’s wife kept her marital abuse a secret — until now 


Naghmeh Abedini had posted updates throughout her husband’s more than three-year imprisonment in Iran, advocating for his freedom. That fight for his freedom hasn’t changed, she said Monday, “but it has taken a different form on my knees.”

Saeed Abedini had been working to set up an orphanage and house churches in Iran in 2012 when he was put under house arrest there and later imprisoned.

He was freed in early January as part of a prisoner swap between the United States and Iran. Later that month, after his return to the United States, his wife filed domestic legal papers to make sure their two children stay in Boise, Idaho.

“No one longs for reconciliation for our family more than me,” Naghmeh Abedini said. “I have loved Saeed more than I have ever loved any human being in my life and it has been hard to stand and keep the boundaries and ask for the abuse to be addressed. This is the most loving thing I can do for my husband and children at this time.”

Naghmeh Abedini’s post came days after her husband shared a link on his Facebook page to a letter he received from President Barack Obama, in response to a thank-you the pastor had sent after his release from Iran.

In his letter, Obama said he had vowed as president to do everything he could to bring Abedini home and was “gratified” he was able to do so. He also noted he had prayed and given thanks for his release along with millions of Americans.

“Many will continue to be inspired by your unyielding faith and courage in the face of great adversity,” Obama wrote.

(Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS)