Washington Post reporter sentenced to prison in Iran

November 22, 2015  

An Iranian court has sentenced Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian to a prison term, Reuters reported Sunday, citing the state news agency.

The length of the prison term was not specified. “Serving a jail term is in Jason Rezaian’s sentence but I cannot give details,” judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei told a weekly news conference in Tehran, according to the IRNA news agency.

Rezaian, a joint American-Iranian citizen and a correspondent for The Washington Post, was arrested in July 2014 and accused of spying.

Following a closed-door trial, it was reported last month that a verdict had been reached in the case, but no further details were offered at the time.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Sunday he was aware of the IRNA report but could not independently confirm it. It was not clear why Iran has not given details of the ruling against the 39-year-old Rezaian.

The foreign editor of the Washington Post, Douglas Jehl, said the newspaper was aware of the reports but had no additional information.

He told Reuters the reported sentencing might move the case closer to a final resolution in the judiciary, so it can then go to Iranian leaders. “It’s these senior leaders who have the power to pardon, the power to overturn a verdict, the power to make things right,” he said.

In addition to Rezaian, two other Americans are currently held by Iran. The United States has regularly demanded the unconditional release of the three prisoners.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently said he would work for the release of the three Iranian Americans, including Rezaian, if the United States would free Iranians held in U.S. prisons for violating sanctions against their country.

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