Pastor Saeed Abedini was one of four American citizens released over the weekend by the Islamic Republic and Iran.
The release was part of a prisoner exchange for seven Iranians, according to One News Now.
Abedini boarded a flight Sunday to head home. He was held in an Iranian prison for three years.
Abedini converted to Christianity while living in Iran and then moved to the United States in 2005. He became a U.S. citizen in 2010. Then in 2012, while in Iran to help build an orphanage, Abedini was arrested.
Iranian officials said he was a national security threat because of his faith and sentenced him to eight years in prison.
Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh Abedini, said she is grateful that her husband is coming home.
“This has been an answer to prayer,” she said. “This is a critical time for me and my family. We look forward to Saeed’s return and want to thank the millions of people who have stood with us in prayer during this most difficult time.”
She also added that many Christians are being persecuted in the Middle East, and the fight against that violence cannot stop.
"There is also an attempt to get rid of Christians in the Middle East and it is genocide,” Naghmeh said. “We should call it what it is. It's very scary. You're arrested, you're imprisoned, and you're always afraid of this. It isn't easy to be a Christian in the Middle East. There should be action."
Publication date: January 18, 2016
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.