Deny Christ or Remain Behind Bars: American Pastor Imprisoned in Iran Standing Firm Despite Threats

Abedini 4An American pastor imprisoned in Iran is reportedly being threatened that he will not be freed from prison until he denies his faith in Christ and returns to Islam.

As previously reported, Saeed Abedini, a former Iranian Muslim turned Christian, left Iran in 2005 and moved to the United States with his wife and two children to find religious freedom after facing conflict with authorities for planting house churches in the county. In 2012, he traveled back to Iran to build an orphanage and visit his parents—and was about to return to the states—when he was taken into custody.

Abedini was later charged with threatening the national security of Iran, and for attempting to turn youth in the nation away from Islam and toward Christianity. He was then sentenced to eight years in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, where he has spent the past two years behind bars.

In November 2013, Abedini was transported to Rajai Shahr Prison, which was believed to pose an even greater threat to Abedini’s health and safety. Last May, while obtaining treatment at a local hospital for injuries sustained from beatings, he was likewise beaten and returned to prison.

Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, requested a face-to-face meeting with Barack Obama in January as he was scheduled to speak at an area university. She later told reporters that Obama advised her that “getting Saeed out is a top priority and he is working very hard to get Saeed home back to our family.”

But Abedini stated this week that her husband’s situation is still very serious as guards continue to pressure him to deny Christ and return to Islam.

“He has been under a lot of pressure and attack from the hardliners,” she stated in an update released by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). “The guards have also been threatening Saeed that he will never go free and additional charges (and years) will be added to his sentence (which they have done to other Christians and fellow inmates).”

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“They continually threaten Saeed that the only key to his freedom is denying Christ and returning to Islam,” Abedini continued. “Saeed refuses to deny Christ and continues to be a light and witness in that dark prison.”

She asked that Christians continue to pray for her husband.

“These threats coupled with the fact that there have been mass executions during the last week in … prison, have really taken their toll on Saeed,” Abedini said. “He asks for prayer for continued strength.”

The ACLJ urges Christians to also continue to speak out on Abedini’s behalf.

“[A]s fellow U.S. citizens, as brothers and sisters in Christ, we must not be silent,” Executive Director Jordan Sekulow states. “Our government must do everything in its power to bring Pastor Saeed home. It is absolutely critical that the Obama administration and the State Department continue to demand that our innocent citizens—especially Pastor Saeed who is suffering only because of his religious beliefs—be returned home.”

The U.S. will be involved with nuclear negotiations with Iran on April 21.

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  • Paul Hiett

    So lie and go home…unless he’s afraid God won’t know what’s really in his heart?

    • It dosen’t work that way, if he did lie then his testimony would be ruined.

      • Paul Hiett

        Then he’s committing suicide if they kill him.

        • jmichael39

          suicide? Where in the world do you come up with this BS?

      • uzza


    • Nick_from_Detroit

      Gee, what an ethical and principled man you are, Mr. Hiett.
      I guess you have no problem with mobsters, murderers, and Bubba “The Rapist” Clinton lying under oath, either? Is that the atheist way?

    • Don’t lie. Stand firm. God has a reason for this. If you are really going to teach people to lie, or tell them to that is, I have to wonder how far you’d go to let sin reign in your life?

    • jmichael39

      Now there’s a man of principle and honor. That explains EVERYTHING about all the posts you’ve ever made, Paul. It must honestly be depressing being so spineless.

  • Frank

    This Pastor is already free. He must stand on this fact that he is already free.

    Rest in Jesus, Pastor as you live free. The Iranians, guards, etc. can never take away your freedom. They have no power to take away your freedom. Live free in Christ Jesus where you are and let everyone know you are free. Let the light of Christ’s freedom shine bright for all to see. Fear not the guards and Iranians for they are powerless over your freedom. Stand firm in your freedom. They can never take away your life as it is eternal and given by Christ Jesus.

    • Covered California

      Easy for you to say behind your computer screen

      • Frank

        You assume too much about me and my testimony.

        • Paul Hiett

          So someone put a gun to your head and told you to convert or die?

          • Frank

            Again you assume too much about me and my testimony.

          • Paul Hiett

            Then by all means, enlighten us. Did you, or did you not, have a gun to your head and were told to convert?

          • michael

            Dont worry Frank, youre so right bro ! Hes already free, he has no need to worry

          • Covered California

            Please share

          • Frank

            I was in prison and told that if I did not go through something that would be denying Jesus I would never get out. I was also told by God not to to go through with what they demanded, to stand firm in my faith in Him. I obeyed God and told the prison system I would not bow down to them and that I was already free. My wife, kids, parents and everyone else I knew wanted me to just do what the prison wanted to get out. I obeyed God and within 1 month was released.

            I was free already. They had no ability to take away my freedom. They just didn’t realize it. God is in control not them.

          • Covered California

            Too vague man. I’m really curious.

          • Bolvon72

            Wait, the prison facility said you had to deny God? What country was this?

          • Frank

            They did not say it point blank. But I knew the history of the program from people that had been there for years, as well as watched its happenings and effects. I knew a “strong” christian, or so i thought, go through all this. If you went into the program and were a Christian everyone from the administrators to those in the program would deprogram you of your beliefs and fail you out of the program if you didn’t. The program itself besides all of this taught against faith in Jesus. The whole premise of the thought process was against God. It was depending on man. Lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. It was here in the USA.

            I stood on faith in God, in what He told me to do through the whole process. He released me. Nobody got released unless they went through this program. Nobody. God had released me already but the prison system just didn’t know it yet. He who the Son sets free is free indeed. Live in it no matter what the physical seems.

          • jmichael39

            Not good enough for CC, Frank. He wants to know about how the guard put a shotgun to your head and said “deny jesus or die, sucka”. Sheesh. The pharaoh syndrome is so big in this place.

          • elisabeth

            die, sick of this filthy world anyway lol, to die is to gain heaven, my real home

          • jmichael39

            Go ahead and do it, Paul. You seem to be curious enough. Do it. It wouldn’t be the first time someone willing gave up their life for Jesus and it certainly won’t be the last.

    • Faithwalker

      Amen. We must continually pray for this pastor and his family. May God bless this pastor and his family with peace that surpasses all understanding during their time of trials, tribulations, and persecution in the name of Jesus Christ.

      Matthew 5:10 – Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

      Matthew 5:44 – But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

      Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

      John 15:18 If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you

  • weasel1886

    I find it ironic that you can not legally try to convert someone in Israel without a permit.
    Yet most Christians support that nation

    • elisabeth

      Israel is God’s chosen people, Jesus was a Jew, Christians honor them because the bible says someday they will all love Jesus like we do. Jews missed the fact that Jesus is God because they didn’t know scripture and were deceived, exactly what is happening in the world today. If people would read scripture they would find hundreds of prophesies that tell of Jesus. The mathmatical odds of just a few of them coming true is astronomical, yet hundreds of them have already come true and people are still deceived by the devil into thinking Jesus is just some passive little wimpy man who thought he was God. Got news for all humanity, the day of the Lord is fast approaching and Jesus is not coming as a little lamb this time he is coming to judge the whole world. He has the power of life and death, he conquered death hell and the grave for us.

      • weasel1886

        Most Jewish people I know think Jesus is a false prophet. It could be another 2000 years before he comes back. We have no way of predicting it

      • gods need not apply

        I do know the scripture, and I am not deceived by it. There are plenty of prophecies in the bible, but the thing about prophecy is in order for it to appear legitimate the fulfillment should appear in more than the book with the predictions. There are no contemporary accounts of Jesus. Even the books canonized in the bible were written (at best) 150 years after the events contained in them occurred.

        • jmichael39

          I’d be curious regarding your research on the topic of origins of the NT writings. Because your claim that they weren’t written until 150 after Christ isn’t even remotely true. The preponderance of evidence by contextual critics points to every one of those books of the new testament having been written by the very people they’re attributed to. The Gospel of Mark being the earliest document, written between 44-50 AD. And Revelations coming last, written around 95 AD. The writings of the very early Church fathers (late 1st and early 2nd centuries) is the strongest evidence of this. These are men (and women) who were directly connected to people like John and others from the first church. They reference and quote virtually the entire NT within their own letters written between 90AD and 140AD. Even if you wished to claim THEM as the NT writers, that, alone would deny your assertion. But they are quite obviously quoting and even referencing the authors of those quotes in their letters. There is substantially no legitimate reason to attribute the NT authorships to anyone other than those with whom they are currently attributed…and the within the expected lifetimes of those authors.

          • gods need not apply

            I’m not ignoring you. Need to do some searching to find my references, and I can’t get on here everyday. Hopefully will have a response by Wed 🙂

          • jmichael39

            btw, a paper I read last night about the Qumran scrolls indicate there is a fragment that experts think is from the Gospel of Mark, which, if confirmed (and no I’m not claiming it’s confirmed yet), would indicate an even early date for Mark…within just a few years after Christ.

        • elisabeth

          only a fool would say that

          • gods need not apply

            How very christian of you.

    • jmichael39

      Maybe it’s because we’re not here to appease Israel but obey God. If God changes his commands about supporting Israel, then we’ll follow THOSE commands.
      BTW, while the Israel government tries to pressure missionaries and such from proselytizing, the laws of Israel actually only forbid converting someone under 18 unless one of their parents is already an adherent to the religion they’re converted to.

  • sam

    His imprisonment and beatings is a great testimony in the name of Jesus. Not only is he receiving rewards in heaven, but he is personifying the dedication and passion that is found in Jesus Christ which could be the most influential attribute about Him. With this said, this man needs an overflow of prayer. Let’s pray for our brother in Christ! The fact that Saeed is imprisoned for religion, an American, member of the free world, and isn’t pursued by his country is not only sickening but the signs of the times and judging by these signs, this Pastor won’t have to endure for to much longer.

  • UmustBKiddinMe

    A very unfortunate situation. It points to the inherent dangers of having a country’s laws based solely upon religious belief. Thank goodness we are making progress of ridding the US of such laws.

  • Keith Kysel

    Obama shoud make no deal withIran without his release

  • Praying for Pastor Saaed. He is persecuted for Christ’s sake, and is making many converts to Christianity just by holding firm to his faith, with his family testifying to his strong faith.