Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian Sentenced By Secret Iranian Court
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.