Christian Minister Among Prisoners Released By Iran

crossAmerican Pastor Saeed Abedini, jailed in Iran since 2012 for allegedly setting up house churches, was one of four Iranian-Americans freed over the past weekend in a prisoner deal with the U.S. linked to the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.

When Abedini’s situation first came to the public’s attention, Christians in general and particularly those in the U.S. lobbied for his immediate release.

The Obama administration was also criticized for not doing enough to secure the release of the American prisoners.

However, as it has turned out, the Obama administration has been conducting negotiations behind the scene for the prisoners’ release.

The flurry of events over the past week has seen the release of sailors held by the Iranian government, lifting of sanctions against Iran by the U.S., and its partners as well as what is described as a prisoner swap.

In light of the current events, President Obama remarked that “This is a good day because once again we are seeing what’s possible through strong American diplomacy.”

“These things are a reminder of what we can achieve when we lead with strength and with wisdom,” he added.

The pastor’s wife, Nahmeh Abedini, also took to Twitter to confirm that her husband is coming home.

“It is confirmed: Saeed is released from Iranian prison,” she posted on Twitter.

In a press release via the American Center for Law and Justice, she said her husband’s release “has been an answer to prayer.”

“This is a critical time for me and my family,” she continued. “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.”

The couple have two children and their home is in Boise, Idaho.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Nahmeh Abedini reportedly said she and her husband had been speaking by phone and through Skype but have not spoken since October.

“When he gets home, we can address the serious issues that have happened and continued,” she told the Post.

She said she was not sure whether her husband would continue to serve as a pastor.

“I think he would have to deal with a lot of issues,” she said. “There will need to be a time of healing for him and his family.”

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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