Naghmeh Abedini, wife of imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini, spoke with America's Newsroom co-anchor Martha MacCallum on Monday in her first TV interview since her husband was sentenced eight years in a brutal prison by an Iranian court. The sentence, the country says, was due to his work with Iranian Christians - in particular, his work with house churches, an act which they deemed a national security crime, adding that he intentionally tried to undermine the national security of the Iranian government.

Abedini called the sentence "devastating," especially since it followed directly after rumors last week that her husband might actually be released. This new sentence completely dampers that "glimmer of hope."

"Eight years is a death sentence; anything can happen any day," she said, adding, "It's unfortunate we're not seeing any more aggressive action from our government."

If there's any good news to be had, it's that just today Pastor Abedini's confirmed that his client's appeal will indeed move forward.

That doesn't change the

tough task given to Nagmeh in having to explain to their young children, ages six and four, why their father isn't coming home. At least, not any time soon.

"They don't know. My daughter heard me say 'eight years' to someone the other day, and she said, 'mom, what's a year?' [...] They don't understand it at all," Nagmeh said. "They still hope every day that he's going to come home. I haven't taken that hope from them ... I can't [break] that news to them."