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Wife Who Fought to Free Preacher Husband From Iran Prison Seeks Separation

The wife of the Christian preacher recently freed after more than three years in an Iranian prison filed for separation — on the day he came home to Idaho, records revealed Thursday.

Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Saeed Abedini, apologized a day earlier in a lengthy Facebook posting for hiding "from the public the abuse I have lived with for most of our marriage."

"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," she wrote. "Tragically, the opposite has occurred."

From left, Saeed Abedini, Jason Rezaian and Amir Hekmati. American Center for Law and Justice; AFP; Hekmati family

Abedini, whose tireless efforts to get her husband sprung bore fruit on Jan. 16 when the preacher and four other Americans were released by Tehran, did not go into detail about the "growing cancer" in their marriage.

But Christianity Today reported in November that she told supporters her husband was addicted to pornography.

The petition for legal separation confirmed by NBC News that Abedini filed Tuesday in Boise, Idaho, were sealed. She filed it under her maiden name, which is Panahi, the records show.

But Abedini claimed in her post her husband did not want the public to know their marriage was in trouble.

"Three months ago Saeed told me things he demanded I must do to promote him in the eyes of the public that I simply could not do any longer," she wrote. "He threatened that if I did not the results would be the end of our marriage and the resulting pain this would bring to our children."

Abedini wrote she is open to reconciliation but "strictly base on God's word."

"I want us to go through counseling, which must first deal with the abuse," she wrote. "Then we can deal with the changes my husband and I must both make moving forward in the process of healing our marriage."

A 35-year-old former Muslim convert to Christianity, Saeed Abedini was arrested when he returned to his Iranian homeland in 2012 and accused of undermining national security by organizing "underground churches" in the mostly Shiite Muslim country.

"It seems like a dream. It's something we've been hoping for and praying for," his wife said after the preacher was sprung.

But instead of going straight home, Saeed Abedini's first stop in the U.S. was the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, North Carolina. It's not clear if his wife and children visited with him there.

Saeed Abedini was released as part of a prisoner exchange along with Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former Marine Amir Hekmati, and another American, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari. A fifth U.S. citizen, Matthew Trevithick, was freed in a separate deal.