Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Tehran who has been held by the Iranian government for more than four months, was formally charged over the weekend, but the specifics are not yet known, his newspaper reports.
The charges followed an order to extend his detention until mid-January. The Iranian judge reportedly denied a bail request.
Rezaian, an Iranian-American who holds dual citizenship, was arrested on July 22 along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, who was freed on bail in October. Despite repeated requests from the U.S. State Department and media organizations, including NPR, for an accounting of the reason for his detention, Tehran has refused to provide details.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a September interview with NPR, said Rezaian had been “interrogated” but declined to specify why. He said that because he is an Iranian citizen, “not … an American citizen,” Tehran “has no obligation to explain to the United States” the reason for his detention.
A source told the Post that Rezaian “spent about 10 hours in court Saturday while a judge reviewed his case. A translator accompanied Rezaian, who does not read Farsi, said the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. Rezaian signed a document saying he understood that he was being charged, the source said.”
Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement on Sunday that the U.S. was “deeply disappointed and concerned” by reports that Rezaian had been charged.
“We are also distressed by reports that Jason was not allowed access to an attorney, which is a clear violation of Iran’s own laws and international norms,” Kerry said. “I am personally dismayed and disturbed at these reports as I have repeatedly raised Jason’s case, and the other cases of detained or missing U.S. citizens, directly with Iranian officials.”