Naghmeh Abedini, wife of imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini, told TheBlaze on Friday that she believes President Barack Obama has “shown in his heart that he doesn’t care” about her husband’s continued detainment in Iran — and that, to date, no high-ranking U.S. officials have contacted her to speak about Saeed’s plight.
Abedini specifically expressed disappointment over Obama’s silence on her husband’s detention and his failure to use the opportunity to defend religious freedom more broadly.
“I’ve recently heard him make great speeches on Nelson Mandela and people who have been in prison, because of what they believe in and the change they brought to this world … and here’s an American citizen standing up for his faith and rotting in an Iranian prison and yet there’s silence,” she said. “And silence, for me, speaks volumes.”
By not speaking out about her husband’s ongoing captivity, Abedini said that Obama is sending “a very powerful message” regarding where he stands.
“You say you honor those who stand up for human rights issue … and yet here’s your chance to show that you honor that … but yet you’ve kept silent — you haven’t been vocal about it,” Abedini added. “For me, words don’t mean much.
Directly appealing to the president, she said that she hopes Obama will stand up and advocate for Saeed.
“For me thus far he’s shown in his heart that he doesn’t care, but I hope in my heart he shows me and the American people he believes otherwise,” Abedini added.
While she said there have been “some efforts” to seek Saeed’s release, Abedini believes securing his freedom isn’t a priority for U.S. officials.
“Part of my disappointment is that I would have thought my government would have been proactive and it would not (require) a lot of pressure from me,” Abedini said. “I haven’t felt like they have been proactive. They have been reactive.”
She also said that over Saeed’s 15 months in brutal Iranian prisons, no high-ranking Obama administration officials, including the president himself, have reached out directly to her to discuss the dire situation.
“Outside of Congress and a number of senators who have been very vocal, I have not really received any communication from the president or (Secretary of State) John Kerry,” she said. “I’ve mainly worked with a desk officer at the State Department. It’s mainly me providing information on how he is doing.”
Abedini learns of her husband’s well-being from visits his Iranian relatives make to the prison; she has not seen Saeed in person since he first left for Iran to work on an orphanage back in June 2012.
The grieving wife also said that she generally isn’t given much information about Saeed’s condition — and that whatever details she does receive are generally the same reports that are given to media.
“As a wife I expect to be given more information,” Abedini said.
TheBlaze has highlighted Abedini’s plight over the past year, including barbaric treatment and horrific abuse he has reportedly received as a result of his Christian faith.
His wife said that internal bleeding, infections and other related injuries as a result of beatings continue to plague Saeed — and that she doesn’t know how long her husband will survive his current conditions in prison.
In addition to the obvious impact the situation has had on her husband, Abedini said that she and her two young children are feeling the emotional and physical toll of the ongoing situation.
“I’m sure a lot of people realize, it’s really a heavy burden for a 5 year old and a 7 year old to carry,” she said. “It actually gets harder (with time). Again, we’re approaching another Christmas without him.”
Abedini joined American Center for Law and Justice attorney Jordan Sekulow in testifying before Congress on Thursday about her husband’s ongoing fight for freedom.
See a speech Abedini delivered at Liberty University earlier this year:
She also met with businessman Donald Trump this week; he offered up support for Abedini and her family and spoke with TheBlaze extensively about his own frustration over its handling of the situation.
The real estate mogul and businessman called the agreement reached last month between Iran and the international community, in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear development in return for limited easing of sanctions, “the stupidest deal I’ve ever seen.”
This deal did not include a demand securing Saeed’s freedom.