SALMON, Idaho - The Idaho wife of an Iranian-American Christian pastor imprisoned in Iran said on Monday she felt betrayed and feared for her husband's life after the Obama administration failed to secure his release as a condition of an Iranian nuclear deal.
"My kids are crying every day. They are saying 'Please keep daddy alive,' and my government let the one, crucial opportunity for bringing my husband home pass by. I feel betrayed," said Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Saeed Abedini, 33, who was incarcerated in his native Iran in September 2012.
The pastor was convicted by an Iranian court in January and sentenced to eight years in prison for undermining national security by working to establish home-based Christian churches in Iran from 2000 to 2005, according to the Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice.
Naghmeh Abedini's comments come after Iran reached an interim deal with major world powers to accept restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from economic sanctions that have gradually crippled its economy and slashed its oil exports.
Naghmeh Abedini said her husband's health was rapidly deteriorating and that he was without medicine needed for internal injuries he suffered at the outset of his imprisonment. She complained he had also been transferred this month to a prison that houses violent offenders.
"Honestly, I don't know if he will survive it. I seriously fear for his life," she said, adding it has been difficult to meet the eyes of the couple's children - a daughter, 7, and son, 5 - when they ask if their father will be home for Christmas.