Saeed Abedini launches bitter attack on Franklin Graham, says evangelist 'used him' for fame and fortune

Rev Franklin Graham (left) and Pastor Saeed Abedini while at the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, NC.Facebook/Franklin Graham

Pastor Saeed Abedini, who was released from an Iranian prison last year, has hit out at the 'life-style'and alleged hypocrisy of Franklin Graham, the evangelist who has supported Abedini in the past.

Abedini, who was arrested in Iran in 2012 and sentenced to eight years imprisonment for preaching the gospel, was released along with three other Americans last January in exchange for seven Iranians.

Now he has written on Facebook that he was 'used' by the likes of Graham, the president of the charity Samaritan's Purse, saying that 'persecuted' Christians such as himself have 'always have been used with famous and rich pastors and preachers who used us for fundraising and recently because of special media attention on me some of them tried to show themselves as saviors of the persecuted churches and me which it wasn't true and right but their own benefit'.

He added: 'One of theses pastors is Franklin Graham, who has about 1000,000 $ salary and so many planes and private jets and every time he flies his gas price is just 10,000$ means tides of 300 teachers with 3000$ salaries and he flies a lot with his jets. He tries to show he is helping persecuted a lot and he has some speech about them but this kind of life style shows he doesn't have any idea of life of persecuted churches.

'This kind of people ask others to come to repentance nationally but first themselves needs to start the real repentance which starts with changing their life-style.'

The pastor, who is based in Boise, Idaho, continued: 'A week after I got released and Franklin Graham welcomed me home (because of the huge international media attention on me he badly wanted to be involve) he knew I don't have any place to go but he left me alone in Boise until I was forced to call him to ask money to rent a place.

'When all cameras and social media attention were gone in my life, all the famous pastors and lawyers were gone too, and just a week after my freedom, I saw myself so alone with my family while still news were talking about me.'

Abedini claimed that Graham refused to help him find a job to pay the bills or to meet Donald Trump.

He added that the subject of the 'persecuted Church' is 'always hot' in the media and makes 'people's heart melt to give financially' but ultimately only benefits 'famous rich pastors' such as Graham.

He concluded: 'I believe our country is ready for revival but church leaders and pastors are the first group should start repenting and at this time they are stoping the true and biblical revival. Revelation 2:5...Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.'

Abedini is a former Muslim who grew up in Iran and converted to Christianity in 2000, moved to Idaho in 2005 and became a dual US-Iranian citizen in 2010.

While in Iran, he organised underground 'house churches' where groups of Christians worshipped together.

In 2009, while on a family visit to Iran, Abedini was detained at the airport and he agreed to cease all house church activities.

He travelled back and forth to Iran to build an orphanage over the next few years.

But he was again detained in July 2012 on charges of evangelising and sentenced to eight years in prison. Abedini, who said he was imprisoned for 'being a Christian and refusing to renounce my faith in Jesus Christ', suffered internal injuries from beatings he endured and was denied medical care during his imprisonment in Iran.

In February, Abedini pleaded guilty to violating a restraining order taken out by his estranged wife, Nagmeh, who had campaigned for his release from prison.

Graham has been criticised for his annual compensation of $880,000 for his work with Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Samaritan's Purse has its own planes to carry out mission work. Graham, who is 64, has said that he wants to make enough money to be able to work for free when he turns 70.