The Tragedy of Jason Rezaian’s Trial

Jason Rezaian and his wife Yeganeh Salehi are both correspondents who work for the Washington Post and the UAE-based National newspaper respectively, and they have licenses from the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for their journalistic activities in Iran. Photo courtesy Iran Human Rights Watch.org.

Jason Rezaian and his wife Yeganeh Salehi are both correspondents who work for the Washington Post and the UAE-based National newspaper respectively, and they have licenses from the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for their journalistic activities in Iran. Photo courtesy Iran Human Rights Watch.org.

Jason Rezaian is a journalist with the Washington Post and is a dual Iranian and American national who lives in Tehran.  On July 22, 2014, Jason and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, also a journalist, were arrested only one day after Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance renewed Rezaian’s press credentials, with the head of Iran’s judiciary stating simply that they had “been detained for some questions.” In October, Salehi was released on bail.

According to a press release from Human Rights Watch published December 3, “On November 18, 2014, authorities informed Rezaian that investigations against him are ongoing, and that his pretrial detention has been extended for another two months, a source familiar with his case told Human Rights Watch. Prosecutors have not allowed the lawyer hired by Rezaian’s family to defend him, to speak with him, or to review his case file, the source said. The source added that despite Rezaian’s inability to read or write Persian, authorities did not provide him with an official translator during his interrogation. With a judge’s approval, detaining authorities can, under Iranian law, hold a suspect indefinitely and deny him access to counsel.”

The Washington Post reported in April that Rezaian faces espionage charges for allegedly collecting confidential information about domestic and foreign policy and handing it to “hostile governments”. On May 26, a closed door trial on charges of spying began for Jason. Only his attorney is allowed to be present in the courtroom; not his wife or other family members.

Martin Baron, the newspaper’s executive editor, said there was “not an ounce” of justice in the proceedings and the “fate of a good, innocent man hangs in the balance”.

The Obama Administration has stated they are doing all they can.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry plans on taking US Energy Secretary Moniz with him to a meeting in Geneva on Saturday to further the process of the Iran nuclear talks. “Moniz, who will return to Washington on Sunday, has taken part in earlier rounds of the negotiations, which are seeking to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. The United States and five other powers aim to conclude a deal with Iran by June 30, a report read today.

A report in The Guardian, also from today, reveals Israel is expecting to receive a much larger aid package beginning in 2017, when the 2007 deal expires. “An Israeli official, who also declined to be named, put the expected aid at between $3.5bn and $4bn. “[The United States] are trying to douse the fires after our flare-up about the Iran deal,” the official added, referring to curbs being negotiated on Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme, which Israel has condemned as insufficient.”

We have always held to the belief that to understand what is happening in government, politics, corporations and most other entities, one needs only follow the money. We have also made clear in our coverage that journalism is the most essential part of any democracy. Our views of Israel and the Gazan war should be no mystery to you either. With that in mind, we have a few questions to ponder.

Is Jason being held by Iran as a political prisoner to add pressure to the nuclear talks?

If Iran truly seeks relief from the economic sanctions, why would they risk ruffling the US feathers over one journalist?

Do you now understand why we are concerned that America seems more pro-Israel than Israel herself?

Do you wonder why none of the US major news outlets have featured news about Jason Rezaian, knowing that public pressure can sometimes change things? Does he not deserve the same media attention as other Americans whose lives are at risk around the world?

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