Naghmeh Abedini And Sorting My Painful History


The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.

-Proverbs 12:22, NLT

When my first marriage was falling apart, my (now) ex-wife would make statements and tell people–including my own family–that I was threat to her. I even have an email from her father where he states I am such a threat that she was not to meet with me alone ever (which she did knowing–in my opinion–that it was a lie).

My interpretation of such words and actions from her and her cohort was that they were trying to paint me as a “wife-beater” and abuser. This was one of the most painful lies spoken or implied about me. It took some significant time for me to heal from this sort of attack.

One of my fellow Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) students was angry when he heard of these accusations leveled against me. This individual saw me for extended periods of time and commuted to and from the hospital on a regular basis with me. He got to see my heart as our sessions together in this program required self-disclosure at some of the deepest levels.

He was angry about my ex and her cohorts because he understood such clearly false claims–as he saw them as well–devalue the real claims of abuse.

This is true.

After this very painful personal experience, I am slower to agree with people alleging “emotional abuse” as I understand how that term can be weaponized. That said, I still firmly believe emotional abuse is real and incredibly damaging. (In fact, I believe the lying and gaslighting many faithful spouses experience from the cheater are real examples of such abuse–speaking as a pastor and not a mental health provider here.)

-Naghmeh Abedini Situation-

My painful history was triggered as I read the story regarding Saeed Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, filling legal paperwork and speaking out about the domestic abuse in her marriage. I could hear the old accusations from my ex and her cohorts as I read her thoughts on FB regarding her marriage situation. For those unfamiliar, Saeed Abedini was one of the Iranian prisoners recently released and happens to be a pastor with celebrity status among evangelicals due to this international situation.

Back to the story regarding domestic abuse, I had to sort through my own baggage on the matter before I was able to offer my voice in support of this sister in Christ. What sealed the issue for me was an article exposing a conviction of Saeed for domestic violence in 2007.

Domestic violence is no joke, and I have a zero tolerance view on it. This article demonstrates through exposing the conviction that the abuse issue is not a “He said/she said” situation. He was convicted.

I hope more pastors stand in solidarity with Naghmeh and exhort Saeed to real repentance. I, for one, support her from my perspective–hence, I am writing this today–and I hope she has good people encouraging her even now as it is tough navigating such matters with so much outside pressure to overlook one’s legitimate fears. 

Personally, I think Satan seeds lies into our lives not only to destroy us but also to cut us off from supporting others who may find themselves in vulnerable situations. Sadly for him, the lies he sowed into my life have failed to stop me from supporting people like Naghmeh with my voice, which stands firmly against domestic violence and in support of protecting its victims.

12 thoughts on “Naghmeh Abedini And Sorting My Painful History”

  1. I was wondering about that. I don’t know of many adulterers who aren’t also abusers at some level. Abuse and adultery usually go hand in hand. Stands to reason.

  2. This is all good, EXCEPT is is based on the assumption that Saeed is an abuser. Did you ever consider, even temporarily that she may be lying? Many people on other blogs, including those who know the Abedinis in Idaho, have listed deep reservations about her claims, and it’s clear that she has been lying for some time, for example for months claiming she has no contact with him and then publicly revealing that she has been speaking with him every day for up to 6 hours on skype, when there is clearly no internet or phones allowed in any Iranian prison. This whole thing stinks to high heaven, but I certainly wouldn’t be jumping in behind Naghmeh’s story as you have, because there is no evidence of abuse, and her story is completely full of holes. It may well turn out that she has found another man and this is her way of getting rid of Saeed. Meanwhile she may face serious legal trouble accounting for the millions (yes, millions) given to her for her non-profit campaign to free her husband. Hope people’s donations haven’t ended up paying for divorce lawyers. I agree with your stance that the abused should always be supported and protected, but in this case I urge caution. There is much more to this that has yet to come out and in your zeal to protect the innocent I hope you haven’t picked the wrong person in this case.

    1. He plead guilty to domestic assault in 2008. It’s public record. If that does not make him an admitted abuser as verified both by him and a third party (the state of Idaho), then I do not know what does.

      1. No he didn’t. I know the story well. They had an argument in 2007 and she decided to get him by calling the police. She immediately felt remorse and called back to tell them not to come, but they said they are obligated to investigate. They handcuffed Saeed and took him away to jail for the night. The next morning he appeared before a judge, who dismissed the serious charges as no evidence was found, and Saeed pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of “disturbing the peace”, paid a $75 fine and was released. I am willing to testify in court if asked to do so. She is painting everything black to destroy her husband, and numerous Christians are lapping it up. He’s far from perfect, but he is not an abuser. She has carefully crafted an image of sainthood for the past 3 years through using the DeMoss public image firm, and has sucked in the nation along the way.

        1. The records DO say “Domestic Assault.” They do NOT say “Disturbing the Peace.”

          I am processing the rest that you claim. Certainly, I am aware of situations where wives/husbands will miss use the legal system to vilify the other party. Right now, though, I am not convinced that is the case here.

        2. “Disturbing the Peace” is very different than “Domestic Assault.” I ought to know as I was collegiate-level football player who regularly heard of party-throwers being threatened with “Disturbing the Peace” charges. The actual court documentation says Saeed plead guilty to “Domestic Assault”–i.e. he said he was guilty of assaulting Naghmeh (albeit at misdemeanor level). This FACTUAL evidence is what tipped the scale for me (as I wrote) in believing Naghmeh as not simply fabricating (i.e. lying about) these matters.

          As far as her having cultivated the public image, I would point out that most news outlets–at least, the ones I saw–paint HIM as the Christian martyr and celebrity, not HER. His name was the one plastered across the news when he was released. And it was HIS name that was the focus as someone who suffered for his faith, which HE did (not taking away from that).

          1. DM,

            I am surprised at your position here.

            But, first, I will say that I think both Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini need a lot of help, both individually and as a married couple. I don’t know the truth of the situation, but I am fairly certain they both have issues to correct.

            I will address some points that I think are very important.

            1. Saeed pleading guilty to Domestic Assault is fact, but it does NOT prove that he was actually guilty of the behavior. Have you never seen a movie or TV show where someone pled guilty when they (and you) knew they didn’t do it? The court record would show that he was guilty, although he was innocent. Same possibility here.

            I think it is very likely that the two of them had a big spat with lots of yelling and some physical contact. She got so mad she called the police and then he was arrested and charged with Domestic Assault. Rather than risk more jail time, he pled guilty so he could return home.

            I can’t find it, but I read a comment today on a blog where a man was assaulted by his wife causing serious injury, he called the police, and when they arrived, he was taken away (and arrested, I think). That’s ridiculous, isn’t it?

            Here’s what I think would have happened to you if your ex-wife had ever called the police and lied that you assaulted her. You would have been arrested before you could blink, and you would have been assumed guilty by almost everyone, especially by the authorities. I think you would have a very different perspective if this had happened to you.

            2. Saeed pleading guilty to Domestic Assault is fact, but it does NOT prove that he is guilty of her other claims of abuse, or pornography usage.

            Your post states your ex-wife claimed you were a threat to her. You said “It took some significant time for me to heal from this sort of attack.” That’s why I am actually shocked that you are so certain that Naghmeh must be telling the truth! Your ex-wife lied about you, and it’s possible that Naghmeh is lying about Saeed. I would think you would especially be careful to believe what a wife is saying about her husband, especially when she is making very serious accusations very publicly.

            3. I have followed this case reasonably closely, and I don’t think Naghmeh’s behavior or statements makes much sense. For example, she said “the abuse started early in their marriage and has worsened during Saeed’s imprisonment”. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see how he could have increased the abuse while he was imprisoned in Iran.

            In Saeed’s case, I don’t have much evidence to lean any direction. So, I am supposing he is reasonably innocent, but not making a final judgment on him. Nor am I making a final judgment on her.

          2. OKRickety,

            In order to suspend judgment, you have to make the judgment that she is lying about Saeed and the abuse. The court record bolsters the point that she is telling the truth. It is external documentation. Is it possible that it is as you suggest–a heated argument that got the police involved? Perhaps.

            He still plead guilty, though. He made that choice to not fight it. One of the consequences of such a choice is that people will believe that he committed that which he agreed he committed–i.e. domestic assault. I do not think it is fair to insist outsiders assume he just lied–i.e. it wasn’t really domestic assualt–about the situation to get off easy.

            That’s how I see it. We may have different takes on the matter, and that is fine.


          3. “In order to suspend judgment, you have to make the judgment that she is lying about Saeed and the abuse.”

            No, you don’t! You can and should suspend judgment until you have sufficient evidence to be certain that the accused is guilty. Instead, you are assuming Naghmeh is being absolutely truthful, and that Saeed is guilty of all of her charges. In the Old Testament, two witness were required to get a guilty judgment. I don’t think there is but one witness testifying of Saeed’s guilt.

            In the USA, the judicial system uses the principle that the accused is considered innocent unless proven guilty. This is also regarded as an international human right under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11.

            I am not willing to judge that Saeed is guilty of any of her claims of abuse until if and when there is sufficient evidence. He may be guilty, or he may be innocent, but I don’t know, and I’m reasonably certain that you don’t know either.

            Similarly, I am not willing to judge that Naghmeh is lying about the abuse until if and when there is sufficient evidence. She may be lying, or she may be telling the truth, but I don’t know, and I’m reasonably certain that you don’t know either.

            Right now, other than the one documented court case of Domestic Assault, there is no evidence of his abuse, and the only evidence was Naghmeh’s statements . Regardless of what you or others have experienced or heard about other marriages where abuse did occur, that does not prove anything about her other accusations.

            The responses supporting Naghmeh remind me of a documentary I recently watched on ESPN. It details what happened when a woman accused members of the Duke lacrosse team of rape in 2006. To summarize, her claims were believed, the three accused were presumed guilty without evidence by almost everyone, until finally the “evidence” was presented, and, after much hard work by the defense, it was shown that the accusation was false and charges were dropped.

            It’s almost 2 hours long, but I expect anyone who watches it would become quite leery of presuming guilt based on stereotypes and their expected behavior. It is called “Fantastic Lies” and can be viewed at
            It’s really quite a frightening look at how it is possible for someone to be railroaded in the US judicial system, and how difficult it is to get out of that situation.

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