Pastor Saeed Abedini has been through unspeakable hardships, as he was unlawfully imprisoned in Iran for three and a half years. During his time in the Iranian prison, as a Christian pastor, Abedini was subjected to some of the harshest prison conditions in the world as he was beaten and interrogated. However, as part of the Iranian nuclear deal, Saeed Abedini was finally released after his long captivity and returned to the United States to be with his family. Sadly, the story doesn’t get any easier for the pastor and his young family upon return. Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, took to Facebook to inform those who had prayed and supported Saeed during his wrongful imprisonment that she had filed for separation from the man she loves as he returned from Iran with spiritual demons that are more severe than the ones he left the country with those three and a half years ago. Naghmeh says that she has faith that their marriage will be restored, and that the separation is simply a legal matter to ensure that the couple’s children remain in Idaho while the pair work through their marriage issues.
Naghmeh Abedini has championed for her husband Saeed’s release from the Iranian prison since he was taken captive three and a half years ago. The mother-of-two utilized Facebook and various speaking engagements to reach out to people across the world to advocate for her husband’s release. However, in a recent Facebook post written upon Saeed Abedini’s return, the doting wife says that she must ask for her prayer warriors’ forgiveness as she has not been completely honest with them over the past few years. Naghmeh says that she has had significant struggles with Saeed throughout their marriage, as he struggles with personal demons that led to abuse in their home. She says that the pair were working towards resolution of this abuse when Saeed was held captive in Iran. She says she had prayed that Saeed would return from his hardship a changed man, less abusive and restored. However, she said the opposite has occurred, as it appears those demons were fed in the Iranian prison, not conquered.
“I do deeply regret that I hid from the public the abuse that I have lived with for most of our marriage and I ask your forgiveness. I sincerely had hoped that this horrible situation Saeed has had to go through would bring about the spiritual change needed in both of us to bring healing to our marriage. Tragically, the opposite has occurred.”
Naghmeh remains hopeful throughout her Facebook message telling her followers that she knows the couple’s marriage can be healed as she believes “in a God who freed Saeed from the worst prisons can hear our plea and bring spiritual freedom.” Therefore, Naghmeh says she has no plans of divorce, but rather filed her separation as a legal means to keep her children in Idaho until the couple can spiritually work through their problems together.
Following the separation, the Idaho Statesman reports that Saeed is also committed to his wife, Naghmeh, and says that he plans to work hard to rebuild their relationship. Saeed Abedini says that his wife has been “a hero” to him and that she has been through unimaginable emotional stress due to the fact he was 7,000 miles away, she was caring for two young children alone and leading advocacy efforts to have him released. He says all of this emotional stress and anxiety has taken an extreme toll on his beloved wife, and that he will “always love her for her sacrifices.”
However, Saeed says that much of what Naghmeh has said in the media and on social media posts is “untrue,” and that he prefers to work through any issues they have privately. He says he will work hard in private to ensure his marriage is in God’s will.
“Much of what I have read in Naghmeh’s posts and subsequent media reports is not true. But I believe we should work on our relationship in private and not on social media or other media. Naghmeh wrote this week, ‘We are taking personal time to work on very serious personal issues.’ I intend to do this hard work in private.”
The issues in Saeed Abedini’s marriage appeared to surface in November of last year, when Naghmeh stopped advocating on her husband’s behalf and sent an email message to all supporters, noting that her marriage was difficult and that she had suffered abuses at the hands of her husband prior to his imprisonment. She claimed there was physical abuse in their home and in 2007, Saeed Abedini pleaded guilty to domestic abuse in Ada County Magistrate Court and received a 90-day suspended sentence. He was placed on probation for a year, and the pair remained committed to one another following the case until Saeed was detained in Iran.
While Saeed admits that their marriage has room for improvement, he will not elaborate on which of Naghmeh’s allegations are false, but instead says he recognizes he is a sinner but knows that his God is capable and powerful and can heal their relationship.
“I am a sinner, saved only by the wonderful grace of God. While I am far from perfect—as a man or as a husband, I am seeking every day to submit to God as He molds me into what He wants me to be.”
Naghmeh has commented no further on the issue, and Saeed has spent time with his two children in Idaho. The pair say they will now work on their issues together, privately. Neghmeh seemingly remains optimistic that the marriage will last, and notes that the demons in Saeed can be conquered, but they festered while he was imprisoned in Iran.
[Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo]