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Naghmeh Abedini Says Iran Nuclear Deal 'Makes Sense,' Was Not Surprised Her Husband Saeed Wasn't Included

( [email protected] ) Jul 21, 2015 11:50 AM EDT
Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini, has said that while she is disappointed her husband was not part of President Barack Obama's recent nuclear deal with Iran, she was not surprised by the omittance as the deal "makes sense."
Naghmeh Abedini holds up a picture of her husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini, and her two children, Jacob and Rebecca. AP photo

Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini, has said that while she is disappointed her husband was not part of President Barack Obama's recent nuclear deal with Iran, she was not surprised by the omittance as the deal "makes sense."

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Naghmeh explained that while she never asked for her husband to be part of the deal, she wished the Obama administration would have worked on the sidelines to secure his freedom while the U.S. still had leverage with Iran.

"You know it makes sense. It's something they have been up front with me and the other families from the beginning, that he (Saeed) would not be part of the deal. They have said that. Every call I've had with State Department and the White House has been that," Naghmeh noted. 

She emphasized that Obama exhibited "sincerity" and "concern" when he promised to do everything he could to bring her husband home upon meeting her and her children, Rebecca, 8, and Jacob, 6, in January.

"I was hoping to hear some good news but I do think as the president said, he does care, he's concerned and they're working on it. I had a call with State [Department officials] and they are working on it. They couldn't promise me a timeline, they couldn't promise me his release has been secured but that they are working on it, that it is a top priority," she said.

"It was hard [not hearing good news], I guess I had put too much, a lot of expectation and hope that with hearing about the deal I would also get a call that my husband was coming home. It was emotional not hearing that," she added. 

Speaking at a White House press conference last week, Obama addressed accusations of being "content" with the four Americans being held in Iran.

"The notion that I am content, as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails - Major, that's nonsense...Nobody is content, and our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out," he said.

"Now, if the question is why we did not tie the negotiations to their release, think about the logic that that creates. Suddenly Iran realizes, 'You know what? Maybe we can get additional concessions out of the Americans by holding these individuals.'

"And, by the way, if we had walked away from the nuclear deal, we'd still be pushing them just as hard to get these folks out," Obama added. "That's why those issues are not connected, but we are working every single day to try to get them out and won't stop until they are out and rejoined with their families."

Naghmeh, whose husband has been imprisoned for his Christian faith in Iran since 2012, said her husband continues to find strength in his relationship with Christ despite the horrific nature of his ordeal.

"Saeed is in the hand of the hardliners...his situation is getting worse...He's there because of his Christian faith and that's been the faith that gives me and my family strength through this time and given Saeed the strength to continue. He's been in and out of solitary, he's had physical pain, he's had beatings. And he's been able to continue because of that," said Naghmeh.

"He's very emotional, he has missed out on almost four birthdays. My daughter will be nine in a few months and she was five last time she saw him. That's really emotional for him because he's missed out on so many milestones in our kids growing up."