(Photo: American Center for Law and Justice)
Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini, said she "never imagined" that she would have to spend their ninth wedding anniversary alone, while her husband remains in prison in Iran.
"Nor could I have imagined that when Saeed and I said our vows for better or worse, just how those vows would be tested as I waited and prayed for my husband's return to our family one year later," Abedini began in an article for Fox News, noting that the anniversary was coming up on Sunday.
Her husband has been in Evin Prison in Tehran ever since his arrest in September 2012, while he was working on building an orphanage for children.
The pastor was sentenced to eight years in prison earlier this year, presumably for endangering national security, but the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing Naghmeh and their two children in the U.S, said the punishment has more to do with Abedini's Christian faith.
Naghmeh Abedini has spoken to some very high authorities, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling on leaders to stand up for the principles they say they uphold and help her husband.
"For nearly a year, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has tried to silence my husband, Saeed Abedini, through illegal imprisonment, torture, and threats against our family. Why is he being held – because he exercised his rights of religious freedom, expression, and peaceful assembly," she told the United Nations in June.
In her piece for Fox News, the pastor's wife shared of the plans the family had made for the future, all of which were turned upside down when Iran's Revolutionary Guards went after the pastor in Iran.
"Saeed would miss our children's first day of school, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and every memorable event in between," the mother wrote. "For now, there would be no regular nightly routine of tucking our children into bed together or quiet moments shared between a husband and wife."
She added that despite Iran's record of persecuting religious minorities, she never imagined that her husband would suffer the fate that he did for his Christian faith.
In prison, Abedini has been beaten, thrown into solitary confinement, denied proper medical care and threatened to have his sentence increased if he does not deny Christ, something which the U.S. citizen has refused to do.
Naghmeh Abedini also talked about Iran's newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, but noted that he is unlikely to help much with her husband's case or the fates of persecuted Christians in the Islamic country.
"But I do pray the heart of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who ultimately controls Iran's treatment of prisoners of conscience, is softened towards his people, towards my husband, and towards others being held captive because of their beliefs," Abedini stated. "I pray that the fog of uncertainty lifts to reveal a clear future, reuniting Saeed in the warm embrace of our family."
Naghmeh Abedini's full article can be read on the Fox News website.