In January 2013, after months of detainment, the Islamic Republic of Iran sentenced Pastor Saeed Abedini, a former Muslim, to eight years in prison in the for having “undermined the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches and … attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam.”
Abedini was recruited at age 14 by Hezbollah, the infamous pro-Iranian paramilitary militia. His close observation of the religious authorities’ methods of training, the hatred behind “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” slogans, and the corruption of the mullahs caused him to reject the Hezbollah program and also to question his faith in Islam.
Saeed Abedini converted to Christianity at age 20 – a capital offense under Islamist Sharia law – and immediately recognized a strong calling to share his new faith and to plant and grow churches in Iran. He did so with great success, despite constant threats and intimidation. Ultimately, his efforts to construct a state-sponsored orphanage in the city of Rasht led to his arrest and imprisonment.
After a three-and-a-half year incarceration, enduring mental and physical abuse, torture, beatings and continuous death threats, Abedini was released from prison in January 16, 2016. This took place following the US-negotiated JCPOA anti-nuclear agreement with Iran, which involved a prisoner exchange.
The story of Saeed’s imprisonment was shared via cable news and social networks, which inspired a global groundswell of support, activism and prayer. Thanks to his viral media exposure, he has significant name recognition in the US, Canada and in numerous other democratic countries.
Today, because of his first-hand experience with the Iran regime’s brutality, Hezbollah’s deadly mission, and the growing despair of young Iranians, Saeed Abedini is an impassioned spokesman for faith and freedom, the truth about Israel, and the defense of persecuted Christians. A US citizen, Abedini is a well-informed consultant and a tireless activist. He is a popular speaker with both Christian and secular audiences.