- (Photo: aclj.org)
Naghmeh, the wife of U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini who remains in an Iranian prison because of his Christian faith, says she has decided to be arrested while praying for her husband in front of the White House on March 8, just as some faith leaders plan prayer and arrests there on Monday.
"I have made the decision to be arrested in front of the White House on March 8 because of my love for my husband. Because there is not one stone I would not leave unturned to secure his release," Naghmeh said in a statement issued by the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C.
"I knew in my heart that this decision did not come out of rebellion against my government or hatred or disobedience, but it came out of love for my husband and the persecuted Christians. That it came out of love for those who are in chains because of their faith in Jesus," Naghmeh added.
While Pastor Saeed's wife has plans to pray peacefully risking arrest in March, some faith organizations and leaders will do just that in support of her husband and persecuted church at noon on Monday, the statement said.
Monday's action takes place on the national holiday which honors Dr. Martin Luther King, and as face-to-face talks with Iran begin regarding their nuclear program.
Iran started suspending its uranium enrichment Monday as part of a six-month interim agreement that gives Iran and six other countries, including the U.S., more time to negotiate a permanent solution, according to CNN.
However, Pastor Saeed continues to serve an eight-year sentence.
President Obama's administration has not shown enough commitment to the plight of Saeed, the persecuted church and human rights around the world, the Coalition said. "President Obama has yet to call or reach out to Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Pastor Saeed, pledging American support for her imprisoned husband and religious freedom."
Obama has shown commitment to other causes, the Coalition noted. The president "personally reached out and called Jason Collins, the first openly gay athlete in an American professional sport, and Sandra Fluke, an attorney, when she called for health insurance plans to cover birth control."
"Tragically the Obama administration has shown no public commitment toward securing the release of pastor Saeed from a brutal eight year Iranian prison sentence or embracing religious freedom and the persecuted church around the world," Mahoney said.
"We will be giving a national call to the faith community and people of good will from all across America to come to our nation's capital on March 8 and stand in solidarity with Naghmeh, her husband and the persecuted church," he added.
Saeed grew up in Iran before converting to Christianity at the age of 20. He later traveled with his family back and forth between Iran and the U.S. to meet other members of his family and for Christian work.
During one such trip in 2009, Saeed was detained by Iranian officials and interrogated for his conversion. While he was released with a warning against engaging in underground church activities, he was once again arrested in July 2011 while working on a non-sectarian orphanage project.
Saeed was sentenced last year for endangering "national security," but it is believed the punishment has more to do with his Christian faith.