Naghmeh Abedini, whose American husband Saeed Abedini remains imprisoned inÂ Iran, spoke out Monday about the failure of the United States to work the Christian pastor’s release into the nuclear deal reached early Sunday,Â Fox News reported.
“It’s devastating,” Naghmeh Abedini said. “Iran has no incentive for them to release him. I don’t think we have any more leverage. We now have to consider other avenues and having other countries speak out because our country, when we could have used our leverage, chose to stay silent.”
With the holidays approaching, Naghmeh Abedini said her children were praying their 33-year-old father, who has been behind bars for more than a year because of his Christian religious practices, would be returned to the United States.
“It’s unbearable to think of another Christmas without him and see my kids not have him home for Christmas,” she said.
Despite the hope of the family, Saeed Abedini’s freedom was not a talking point when the Obama administration struck an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.
According to the White House,Â the release of AbediniÂ â€” a U.S. citizen who was born in Iran and who was working in an Iranian government-approved orphanage when he was arrested â€”Â did not enter discussions that took place last week in in Geneva.
President Barack Obama raised the issue of Saeed Abedini’s release in September during earlier rounds of talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, but an agreement allowing the prisoner to come home was not reached, prompting the American Center for Law and Justice to reach out to Secretary of State John Kerry.
ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow accused both Obama and Kerry of turning their backs on a U.S. citizen; however, Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said Saeed Abedini’s case, as well as the cases of other American prisoners in Iran, have been part of diplomatic discussions.