Wife of imprisoned pastor pleading for his release at United Nations

Naghmeh Abedini

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by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on September 24, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 24 at 6:11 PM

NEW YORK CITY, NY -- President Barack Obama says he's interested in pursuing diplomacy with Iran, and welcomed the Iranian government's choice of what he called a "more moderate course," saying it could provide a breakthrough in nuclear talks.

Will that "moderate course" also mean a breakthrough in the release of a Boise Pastor imprisoned in Iran?

Boise Pastor Saeed Abedini was in his home country last year to help build an orphanage, but was put in prison when Iranian authorities accused him of undermining national security. His supporters say he was imprisoned for his Christian beliefs.

His wife, Naghmeh Abedini, has spent much of the past year traveling and pleading for her husband's release. "It's been very busy and very emotional for both the kids and I."

Right now, Naghmeh is in New York City, making pleas to U.N. ambassadors, the Iranian delegation, and even to the President of Iran, to release her husband.

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani is in New York at the United Nations this week, and spoke to the U.N. general assembly Tuesday afternoon about a more moderate course with foreign diplomacy.

"Iran seeks constructive engagement with other countries based on mutual respect and common interests," said Rouhani.

Naghmeh says one of the best ways for Iran to show that, is to release her husband. "If what they're saying is true, their first step should be in freeing Saeed."

She says she's been without her husband and the father of her children for a year. Words are nice, but she wants action. "What they say has little value for me. What matters most to me, is what they do."

On Monday, Naghmeh hand-delivered a letter to the Iranian delegation. It was written by Saeed to the new president, asking for a re-consideration of his case, and the cases of others unjustly imprisoned in Iran.

The letter says, partially, "Considering the fact that I came to Iran to serve the orphans, please do not let them make my children orphans and [leave] my wife without a guardian."

Naghmeh will leave New York tomorrow night so she can return for a prayer vigil for her husband Thursday at the Idaho Statehouse.

That prayer vigil marks the official one-year anniversary of Saeed's imprisonment. It starts at 12 p.m. on Thursday. There will also be vigils for Saeed held simultaneously in 85 other cities and 16 countries around the world.

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