Tags: saeed abedini | iran | government | abandoned

Jailed Pastor's Wife to Democrats: Don't Abandon My Husband

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Thursday, 12 Dec 2013 03:31 PM

The wife of an Iranian-American pastor jailed in Iran is devastated that Democrats have abandoned a resolution demanding more sanctions against Iran as well as the release of her husband.

"The government has abandoned my husband and me and the kids," Naghmen Abedini told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"I had hoped … our government would put this in the center stage and would not marginalize it."

Story continues below video.

Pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned in Iran since the summer of 2012 on charges of endangering national security through his Christian evangelical activities — charges he denies.

His supporters say he was in Iran working to build an orphanage with permission of the Iranian government.

On Thursday, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer withdrew his support for the resolution at the last minute at the request of the Obama administration.

Hoyer was pushing a non-binding House resolution calling on the Islamic nation to allow no-notice inspections of suspect nuclear sites, access to top scientists and the freeing of U.S. citizens “held unjustly."

But the White House put the kibosh on it, citing Secretary of State John Kerry's attempts to hammer out a deal end Iran’s nuclear research program.

"I'm very disappointed. This issue should cross political barriers and I would expect my government, including the Democrats, which also represent my government, they would not abandon their citizens at the time, at a crucial time, and it's heartbreaking," Abedini said.

"I know there [are] other issues that I'm not an expert to speak on, but it's heartbreaking that it's becoming a political issue."

Abedini said Iran, by its own admission, has never officially stated her husband broke any law.

"So Iran's actually holding him illegally for 444 days and silence from our government is actually approval … Silence, knowing that an American citizen's being held simply because of his Christian faith, he has not broken any of the Iranian law, is just not acceptable," she said.

"It's something we should be very passionate about because we would expect our government to protect our fundamental rights … We're sending a very dangerous message. I don't understand, I honestly do not understand."

Saaed Abedini was granted U.S. citizenship in 2010 and had been living with his wife in Boise, Idaho, before the trip to Iran during which he was seized.

Last month, he was moved from Evin Prison to the more dangerous and brutal Rajai Shahr Prison.

Hoyer, with help from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Reps. Ed Royce of California and Elliot Engel of New York had hoped to draw up a nonbinding House resolution to put additional pressure on Iran.

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