There was much rejoicing this past week after news spread of Pastor Saeed Abedini’s release from imprisonment in Iran.
Pastor Abedini, a U.S. citizen, was arrested by Iranian authorities more than three years ago and was brutally imprisoned for his faith in Jesus Christ.
His release on Saturday, and that of three other Americans, was part of a prisoner exchange between the United States and Iran. According to his wife, Naghmeh, he is scheduled to arrive on American soil this evening.
“This has been an answer to prayer,” said Naghmeh after confirming her husband’s release. “This is a critical time for me and my family. 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 difficult time.”
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, which represents the Abedini family, added, “We’re delighted this day has finally arrived.”
“We’re grateful for the millions of people who have stood with us in our ongoing efforts – both in this country and abroad – to secure his release,” he continued. “We have worked and prayed that this day would finally arrive. And now, Pastor Saeed can return home.”
NRB is among the many groups that lobbied for the immediate release of Pastor Abedini since he was arrested by Iranian authorities in September 2012 for allegedly being a threat to Iran’s national security. Over the past three years, Pastor Abedini has been subjected to brutal interrogations, periods of solitary confinement, physical assault, and torture.
Other groups include the ERLC, Family Research Council, and Samaritan’s Purse, which released the following statements upon hearing of Pastor Abedini’s release:
“We are grateful for the release of Pastor Saeed. The prayers of the Body of Christ all over the world have been answered. This day of celebration should remind us to pray and work all the more for the multitudes still persecuted for their faith all over the world, including in Iran. We hope and long for the day when Iran, and nations like it, are free from those who wish to enslave the conscience at the point of a sword.”
--Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
“Thank God! We celebrate with Naghmeh Abedini on the release of her husband Pastor Saeed Abedini.
“For over three years, millions of Americans and people around the world have made Pastor Abedini a focal point of their prayers and petitions. The news of his release is made even more special because today is January 16th which is commemorated as Religious Freedom Day in the United States.
“We are grateful to the members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who tirelessly advocated for the release of Pastor Abedini. Congress and the American people clearly made the difference in engaging the Obama administration to step up pressure on the Iranian government.”
--Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council
“We have just received word that Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith, has been released along with the other three Americans who were held there. I praise God for answered prayer and thank all of you who have prayed faithfully for his release!”
--Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse
On Thursday, Pastor Abedini is expected to arrive at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, NC, where he will rest for a few days before engaging in a time of counseling and healing with his family. The Abedinis have two young children, Rebekka and Jacob.
PHOTO ABOVE: Pastor Saeed Abedini poses for a photograph with Congressman Ron Pittenger of North Carolina at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany on January 19, 2016. Photograph courtesy of Rep. Robert Pittenger.
By NRB Staff
Published: January 21, 2016