Iran begins trial of detained reporter

Published 8:33 am Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TEHRAN, Iran — An Iranian security court on Tuesday held the first hearing in the closed trial of an American-Iranian reporter for The Washington Post who has been detained for more than 10 months, the official IRNA news agency reported.

It said Jason Rezaian is being tried in a Revolutionary Court on allegations of “espionage for the hostile government of the United States” and propaganda against the Islamic republic, charges that could send him to jail for up to six years.

The report did not provide further details, but initial hearings in Iran usually see the prosecutor spell out charges.

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Rezaian, his wife Yeganeh Salehi and two photojournalists were detained on July 22 in Tehran. All were later released except Rezaian, who was born and spent most of his life in the United States, and who holds both American and Iranian citizenship. Iran does not recognize other nationalities of its citizens.

U.S. officials have repeatedly pressed Iran to release Rezaian and other jailed Americans, including during talks on the sidelines of negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program. Iran and world powers hope to reach a comprehensive agreement on the program by the end of June.

The Washington Post has criticized Rezaian’s detention and the handling of the case. It said his mother and wife have been barred from attending the trial, and that requests for a visa for a senior editor to travel to Iran went unanswered.