In the least surprising news of the day, Iran’s state news agency is reporting that an Iranian court has sentenced Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian to prison.
The prison term’s length has not been specified. Per Reuters, Iran has not provided details of the ruling against Rezaian, who served as the Post‘s Tehran bureau chief. Iranian prosecutors accused the 39-year-old of espionage, but never presented any evidence publicly supporting that claim.
On Oct. 11th, Rezaian––who has both U.S. and Iranian citizenship––was convicted but, as has been the case throughout this sham of a trial, did not elaborate on any details around how said conviction was reached. Rezaian was born in raised and California, and lived in the U.S. for most of his life before taking a corespondent position in Tehran in 2012.
Last month’s verdict came on the heels of a newly-minted nuclear deal between a U.S. (along with other world powers) and Iran. The Obama administration was criticized at the time for not including Rezaian and two (possibly three) other Americans being held in Iran on various vague charges in those negotiations. Back in August, Iranian media had quoted officials there discussing a scenario of swapping Americans held in Iran for 19 Iranians held here in the States, but those talks were never officials confirmed.
Washington Post foreign editor Douglas Jehl had this reaction this morning:
“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. 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.”
Two other U.S. citizens (Christian pastor Saeed Adedini and former U.S. Marine sergeant Amir Hekmati) also are sitting in Iranian jails. American Robert Levinson, a private investigator, disappeared there eight years ago.
Note: when the news came last month that Rezaian was found guilty, President Obama responded by saying… nothing. No warning of ramifications if Iran actually followed through in sending him to prison without presenting any evidence to back its ludicrous claims of “working with governments hostile” to Iran. No demands to release the two or three hostages–and that’s what these Americans are, hostages –or the deal is off. And of course, we haven’t seen any of the kind of outrage Mr. Obama reserves only for his political adversaries–just the usual detachment and apathy–all while hailing the nuclear deal with Iran, which basically got everything it wanted while somehow keeping its American bargaining chips in the process.
Iran is sending an American reporter to live in a cage, possibly for the rest of his life.
His crime? Doing his job.
It would be nice if this administration would start doing theirs.
Follow Joe Concha on Twitter @JoeConchaTV
[image via screengrab/WaPo]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.