Franklin Graham Welcomes Pastor Saeed to North Carolina
January 22, 2016 • United States
Franklin Graham greets Pastor Saeed Abedini. Saeed's parents stand behind them.
Franklin Graham greets Pastor Saeed Abedini. Saeed's parents stand behind them.

On U.S. soil again, Pastor Saeed is reunited with his parents, sister

Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American imprisoned over three years in Iran, finally returned to the United States on Thursday, January 21.

Franklin Graham shared several photos of the reunion with his parents and sister on his Facebook page Thursday night. A smile spread wide across Abedini’s face as he deplaned.

“Pastor Saeed Abedini is safely back and will be a guest at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina, as he reacclimates and spends time with his family,” Graham shared on Facebook Thursday.

Franklin Graham embraces Pastor Saeed, along with his parents and sister.

Franklin Graham embraces Pastor Saeed, along with his parents and sister.

Four United States citizens were released January 16 by the government of Iran as part of a prisoner exchange between the two countries. In addition to Pastor Saeed, the others released are Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari. A fifth American, Matthew Trevithick, was also released in a separate event. Pastor Saeed was flown to Germany before coming home to the United States.

Franklin Graham tirelessly advocated for Pastor Saeed’s release and encouraged prayer for him and his family during his imprisonment.

“This is an answer to prayer, and we praise the Lord for how He has worked,” Graham said on January 16. “I know the family would appreciate your continued prayers in the days ahead.”

Pastor Saeed’s Story:
Formerly a devout Muslim, Pastor Saeed was saved by the Lord Jesus Christ in his Tehran bedroom more than a decade ago. After establishing numerous house churches, he eventually moved to the United States with his wife, Naghmeh.

He later returned to Iran with the government’s permission to build an orphanage. He was initially detained in late July 2012 while visiting family in Tehran.

Then, on September 26 of that year, members of the Revolutionary Guard raided his parents’ home and took Pastor Saeed to an unknown location. Four days later, his family was informed that he was in solitary confinement in the notorious Evin prison. He remained in Iranian prison until January 16, 2016.

Please continue to pray for the Abedini family during this critical transition.

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