While Pastor Saeed Abedini was flying home to see his wife and children yesterday after being imprisoned for his faith for nearly four years, his wife Naghmeh was preparing a special surprise for him. According to a local news station, this surprise resembles the one Jenny Erikson had for her husband:
…a case filed Tuesday in court that shows Naghmeh Panahi vs. Saeed Abedini with Judge Jill Jurries for domestic relations. Legal experts say that could mean a couple of different things, from separation to support to divorce.
A surprise ruined.
Earlier Naghmeh had complained to the Baptist Press that someone had ruined another surprise she had in store for him when he was first released. She explained that someone had told Pastor Abedini about her accusations that he was abusing her from prison:
“It’s unfortunate that your family is going through so much pain and people try to profit off of it and put it out there,” she said. “Because Saeed was made aware of it, it will make it that much harder for us to pursue healing and reconciliation. So I was very heartbroken.”
After that she decided not to take their children to meet him in Germany. Naghmeh told the Idaho Statesman that the new plan was for her to fly out with the kids on Monday of this week (Jan 25) to begin “going through counseling” with Saeed at a retreat in North Carolina:
He will be at a retreat center with his parents for a few days and then the kids and I will join him on Monday and will be taking weeks or months healing as a family and going through counseling
It would seem that Pastor Abedini changed those plans and decided instead to fly home Tuesday to finally be reunited with his wife and children.
Pastor Abedini, have you stopped beating your wife?
Not all of the surprise is ruined, however, as Naghmeh told the Baptist Press that now that she has whispered accusations against her husband she will not elaborate further and instead will expect Saeed to tell the world about how he abused her:
“I think when it’s time,” she told BP, “I think it’s a story that needs to be told by Saeed, not me. I think it had better not be anything that I focus on anymore.”
This fits her pattern from the very beginning. After she sent the email saying she was living a lie and would stop her advocacy for Saeed’s release, she has been careful to passively aggressively make statements in support of the charges repeated by the press while never actually going on record making the allegations*.
Pray for repentance and reconciliation.
This is seriously ugly business, but we should remember that marriage is sacred and that there are children at risk of growing up in a broken home. I pray for repentance and reconciliation in their family and a return to the biblical roles of husband and wife. I ask those reading to do the same.
If Pastor Abedini doesn’t deserve better from Christian leaders and the press, no Christian husband does.
Over the years many men have commented on this blog that they were abandoned by their churches once their wives decided to blow up their families. While this will be small comfort, they should at least realize that this wasn’t due to any defect in themselves. In this case we had a persecuted pastor being accused of abusing his wife from his Iranian prison cell, and the best response he received was silence as his wife publicly erased him from the picture.
*Update (H/T Coloradomtnman): Naghmeh has finally made a specific claim against Saeed outside of the whispering campaign she has lead for months. See this local news article for a full reproduction of her post on Facebook (emphasis mine):
I do deeply regret that I hid from the public the abuse that I have lived with for most of our marriage and I ask your forgiveness. I sincerely had hoped that this horrible situation Saeed has had to go through would bring about the spiritual change needed in both of us to bring healing to our marriage.
Tragically, the opposite has occurred. Three months ago Saeed told me things he demanded I must do to promote him in the eyes of the public that I simply could not do any longer. He threatened that if I did not the results would be the end of our marriage and the resulting pain this would bring to our children.
Naghmeh also explains that she went to the family courts to “establish boundaries” with Saeed.
Update 2: Commenter Craig looked up the filing:
She filed for separation, a pair of TROs, and counseling for divorcing parents. See for yourself:
Case: CV-DR-2016-01483 Magistrate Filed: 01/26/2016 Subtype: Domestic Relations Judge: Jill S. Jurries Status: Pending
(CERTAIN DOCUMENTS MAY BE ACCESSIBLE UNDER I.C.A.R 32)
Defendants: Abedini, Saeed
Plaintiffs: Panahi, Naghmeh
Register of actions: Date
01/26/2016 New Case Filed – Domestic Relations
01/26/2016 Petition for Legal Separation
01/26/2016 Summons Filed
01/26/2016 Joint Tro Property
01/26/2016 Joint Tro Children
01/26/2016 Order To Attend Focus On Children (2/24/16)