Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian Sentenced By Secret Iranian Court

Iranian And American Flags

Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter who has been held by Iran on espionage charges that most everyone agrees are nonsense, has apparently been sentenced, although it’s unclear what his sentence actually is:

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has sentenced detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian to an unspecified prison term following his conviction last month on charges that include espionage, Iranian state TV reported Sunday.

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, the spokesman for Iran’s judiciary, announced the punishment in a statement on the TV station’s Web site.

“In brief, it is a prison sentence,” he said. The verdict is “not finalized,” he added, referring to an expected appeal.

Rezaian’s lawyer, Leila Ahsan, told the Associated Press she had not been informed of the verdict — let alone details of the sentence.

“I have no information about details of the verdict,” she said. “We were expecting the verdict some three months ago.”

Rezaian was detained with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists on July 22, 2014. All were later released except Rezaian, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen.

Rezaian went on trial in four closed court hearings at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court over the past months. Last month, he was convicted of spying and other charges.

The Post has vigorously denied the accusations against Rezaian.

“We’re aware of the reports in the Iranian media but have no further information at this time. Every day that Jason is in prison is an injustice. He has done nothing wrong,” Post Foreign editor Douglas Jehl said. “Even after keeping Jason in prison 487 days so far, Iran has produced no evidence of wrongdoing. His trial and sentence are a sham, and he should be released immediately.”

Rezaian, who has covered Iran for The Post since 2012, grew up in Marin County, Calif., and spent most of his life in the United States. The Post, U.S. officials and Rezaian’s family have all called for his release. Iran does not recognize dual nationality.

Iran’s state media, citing the indictment, have said Rezaian collected information on Iranian and foreign individuals and companies circumventing sanctions and passed them on to the U.S. government. Iranian state TV has repeatedly called Rezaian an “American spy.”

Earlier this month, the intelligence department of the powerful elite Revolutionary Guard claimed in a report to parliament that Rezaian is an agent seeking to “overthrow” Iran’s Islamic ruling system.

Rezaian’s case has been a point of contention and tension between the United States and Iran ever since his arrest last year, but there’s been little if any progress in efforts by the U.S. and other nations who have better ties to Iran to try to get him freed, or at least have the conditions under which he is being held examined by an international agency such as the United Nations or the Red Cross. During the debate over the Iran Nuclear Deal, the Obama Administration was heavily criticized by conservatives for not insisting that Rezaian’s case be dealt with as part of the negotiations, to which the Administration typically responded that the international tenor of the negotiations, combined with the fact that the nuclear issues themselves were already quite contentious, made dealing with his case as some kind of condition for reaching an agreement essentially impossible. Perhaps some kind of progress can be made now that Rezaian’s case seems to have reached something of an end but it’s entirely unclear just how likely that might be at this point.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Middle East, National Security, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. James Pearce says:

    has apparently been sentenced, although it’s unclear what his sentence actually is:

    He’s been sentenced to being a pawn in an international diplomatic tug of war.

  2. Tyrell says:

    How about some sort of sanctions ? Why not freezing of some assets ? Here is a deal: release this innocent man, and all Iranians get free NBA tv for a year. That would go a long way to improving US – Iran relations. And their leaders, including that Allyatolah guy would probably get hooked !!

  3. Bill Lefrak says:

    Hmm, let’s see, over the past 35 years or so, Iran:

    – Took Americans hostage and held them for 444 days.
    – Became the principal weapons and training benefactor of Hezbollah, one of the deadliest terror organizations in the entire world.
    – Waged war against its neighbor, Iraq, in which it intentionally used human waves of young boys as cannon fodder.
    – Became the principal financial backer of various other terror groups in and around the Middle East and elsewhere around the world.
    – Waged direct conflict against U.S. and coalition troops in the second Iraq War, killing and maiming by the thousands with IED’s.
    – Threatened overtly to wipe Israel off the map.
    – Chanted “Death to America” in formal gatherings of its legislative body.
    – Arrested and sentenced this WaPo journalist in a sham proceeding that would make a kangaroo court blush.

    Yet the Obama administration not only wishes for the Iranians to have nuclear capabilities by formal treaty, but has and will continue to fight tooth and nail against all those who oppose that concept.

    Leftism as policy ultimately will be the literal death of much of Western civilization. Just give it time. It’s only now starting to hit its stride. Paris and Brussels are the tip of the iceberg. The worst is yet to come.

  4. Matt says:

    @Bill Lefrak: Yeah they took hostages as part of their overthrowing of the brutal dictator that the USA installed. See the US and UK didn’t like who won the fair democratic elections in Iran because he was going to nationalize the Iranian oil industry. So the US and UK went in and overthrew the democratically elected government so they could install a pawn that would follow orders. Then the US and UK looked the other way as that pawn turned into a brutal dictator that murdered hundreds of thousands of Iranians and tortured even more. Reagan had a hand in insuring that those hostages weren’t released until he was elected president. Then in return for that favor Reagan sold Iran top of the line military equipment with F-14s missiles and more heading to Iran. The money from those sales were then used to fund terrorist groups like the contras.

    There are many terrorist groups that are far deadlier than Hezbollah. There’s the boko haram for example or isis or Al queda and more. BTW all those groups are enemies of Iran. Hell the IRA caused far more death and destruction. Then there’s the Naxal the FARC Tehrik I Taliban the LAshrak e toiba the actual original Taliban themselves too. Hezbollah might be in the top 20 but it’s definitely not the deadliest terror organization in the entire world.

    Iraq attacked first at the urging of the US as we were still mad they overthrew our dictator. Iraq also used chemical weapons that were provided by the USA. Iran was on the defensive so yes all ages were involved in trying to defend their homelands. That’s war.

    The principle financial backer is without a doubt Saudi Arabia. THe US is probably second as we’re currently financing terrorist groups oops I mean “freedom fighters” in northern Iran and other areas. Iran might make it in the bottom of a top ten list though.

    Well Bush did call Iran a member of the “axis of evil” and invaded their neighbor so basically by that point the USA had already essentially declared war on Iran. I can’t blame them for providing money and maybe some technology to the local resistance. The thing is there hasn’t been any solid evidence of Iranian military members being present during that time period. Keep in mind I had a brother killed by an IED in Iraq. Iran is in Iraq now as they are trying to clean up the DAESH mess we created.

    Who gives a shit about threats. Presidential candidates in the USA threatened to glass Iran and no one cared. Remember McCain’s bomb bomb bomb iran? There’s absolutely no difference in those threats. You’re so biased you cannot even see how we’re doing the same thing.

    Oh you don’t even want to touch on the kangaroo courts we’ve had here in the USA…