Wife of US Pastor Held in Iran: 'I Never Thought I’d Have to Battle My Own Gov't For My Husband’s Freedom'

Leah Barkoukis

12/12/2013 8:49:00 PM - Leah Barkoukis

Those who have been following the story of Saeed Abedini, the American pastor who was sentenced to eight years in a brutal Iranian prison for his Christian faith, were shocked to learn his name was not even mentioned during negotiations with Iran last month.

Secretary of State John Kerry was pressed on the matter during a hearing on Tuesday, but said the United States didn’t link Abedini’s case “directly to the nuclear issue because we believe that prejudices them. We don’t want them to become hostages or pawns.” He later said the United State has never abandoned its efforts to secure the release of Abedini and two other Americans currently imprisoned in Iran. “It is a constant process and we are engaged in that effort,” he said.

On Thursday, however, members of Congress heard from Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh.

“When I spoke in front of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in March of this year," she said, "I had anticipated that I would battle the Iranian government for my husband’s freedom. I never anticipated that I would also have to battle my own government and that the journey would become even much more difficult than it had been. My husband is suffering because he’s a Christian. He’s suffering because he’s an American. Yet his own government did not fight for him when his captors were across the table from them.”

Her husband’s health is quickly deteriorating as he’s being tortured—physically and psychologically. Additionally, he’s living in deplorable conditions in the prison, being denied medical treatment and faces direct threats to his life almost daily.

To watch her powerful testimony, click here.