Iran

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

Update, 3:42: Naghmeh Abedini filed court documents to legally separate from him the same day he returned home to Idaho.

An American pastor who was imprisoned for nearly four years in Iran returned home to Boise on Tuesday. And his wife has filed legal papers to keep her children in Idaho.

KBOI-TV reports that Saeed Abedini landed around 4:40 p.m. on a private plane.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Sunday started as a cold and icy morning. As the fog began lifting in Boise, Sunday morning radio programing was interrupted as President Obama stepped up to the podium at the White House.

“Pastor Saeed Abedini is coming home," Obama said. "Held for three-and-a-half years, his unyielding faith has inspired people around the world in the global fight to uphold freedom of religion. Now Pastor Abedini will return to his church and community in Idaho.”

A senior U.S. official says the plane carrying Americans who had been imprisoned by Iran has left Tehran.

The Obama administration official isn't saying whether all four Americans were on the plane, just that those "who wished to depart Iran have left."

Among those released as part of a deal between the American and Iranian governments is Saeed Abedini, a pastor from Boise. On Twitter, his wife Naghmeh said her husband has left Iran.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

Update, 10:15 a.m., Monday: The family of Idaho pastor Saeed Abedini is planning to reunite with him on the East Coast. Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, told the Idaho Statesman Monday that she and her two children will fly to meet him on the East Coast to heal and reconnect with him. She says her husband is currently being treated at a U.S. Army medical facility in Germany.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

After three years of advocacy on behalf of her husband Saeed, Naghmeh Abedini says she has decided to pull back on public appearances. According to an article on the website Christianity Today, Naghmeh Abedini cites marital abuse as her reason for moving out of the spotlight.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

Iran's deputy foreign minister says Iranian diplomats discussed the case of Americans still held captive by Tehran. That includes Boise pastor Saeed Abedini. The issue was raised on the sidelines of negotiations in Vienna earlier this month that led to the landmark deal on curbing Iran's nuclear program.

Abbas Araghchi told reporters in the Iranian capital on Wednesday that cases of "imprisoned citizens" were discussed with their American counterparts during the nuclear talks.

He says "humanitarian" reasons had motivated the discussion but did not elaborate.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Disappointed. That’s how Naghmeh Abedini describes finding out the release of her husband was not included in the Iran nuclear deal announced Tuesday.

Her husband, Saeed Abedini, is a pastor from Boise. He has been held in prison in Iran since 2012. He was convicted of undermining state security for forming private Christian churches in homes in Iran, and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

After hearing testimony from four families, U.S. lawmakers passed a resolution calling on Iran to release three jailed Americans and provide information about a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007.

As the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran approaches, the families say it's time for the U.S. to push hard on this issue.

Among those who spoke Tuesday before a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee was Daniel Levinson, son of former FBI agent Robert Levinson.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

The wife of a Boise pastor jailed in Iran will testify tomorrow before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Naghmeh Abedini will tell the story of her husband, Saeed, who has been detained in Iran since 2012.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

The Senate has unanimously passed a resolution calling for Iranian officials to immediately release a Boise pastor and two Americans held in Iran and help locate a fourth.

The lawmakers on Monday called on Iran to free Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian and cooperate with the U.S. government to locate and return former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who is believed to be missing in Iran.

Abedini, a Christian pastor from Idaho, has been in Iranian custody since September 2012 and is serving an eight-year sentence for undermining state security.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

In the midst of an unexpected break in Iranian nuclear talks, President Barack Obama is calling for the return of Americans held in Iran, including Boise pastor Saeed Abedini.

In a message commemorating the Persian New Year, Obama says it's a time for families to be reunited.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

Senators at a subcommittee hearing have been told that high-level U.S. attention to Iran's imprisonment of American Pastor Saeed Abedini is helping to keep him alive.

Abedini has been in Iranian custody since September 2012 and was sentenced to eight years in prison for what was termed undermining state security. President Barack Obama has called for the Christian pastor's release and met with his wife and children in Idaho in January.

Jim Max / For Boise State Public Radio

It's been almost two-and-a-half years since Boise pastor Saeed Abedini was first imprisoned in Iran. Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, has been working to get her husband's freedom secured ever since.

She's even spoken in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to plead her husband's case.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Abedini got her message directly to President Barack Obama.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Naghmeh Abedini says she misses her husband and fears for his safety. It’s been two years since Boise pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced to an Iranian prison, accused of undermining state security by trying to establish a network of Christian churches in private homes.

His supporters will hold a prayer vigil for Saeed Friday.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

The wife of an American pastor who's been imprisoned for 18 months in Iran says he's doing better since being transferred to a hospital recently.

Naghmeh Abedini told Faith Radio that her husband, the Rev. Saeed Abedini , is now receiving better meals and pain medication. She says he still needs surgery, however, for injuries he suffered in prison.

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