Washington Post Reporter Jason Rezaian Convicted of Espionage in Iran; Tehran Hints at Possible Prisoner Swap With U.S.

Jason Rezaian, a reporter for The Washington Post in Tehran, and his wife have been detained by Iranian authorities since last month. (Credit Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post, via Reuters)
Jason Rezaian, a reporter for The Washington Post in Tehran, and his wife have been detained by Iranian authorities since last month. (Credit Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post, via Reuters)

The Washington Post said on Monday that its correspondent Jason Rezaian, who has been jailed for 14 months in Iran on espionage charges, had been convicted after a trial that ended two months ago.

While the conviction could not be independently confirmed — a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary said on Sunday that a verdict had been handed down, but he did not disclose specifics — Iran appeared to be moving on Monday to position Mr. Rezaian’s case as part of a broader effort to get the release of Iranians detained in the United States.

On Monday, a state television news channel accused Mr. Rezaian, a dual American-Iranian citizen, of providing information to the United States about individuals and companies who were helping Iran circumvent international economic sanctions.

Iranian leaders, including President Hassan Rouhani, have raised the idea of a prisoner swap, suggesting that Mr. Rezaian, 39, could be exchanged for people that Tehran says are being held by or on the orders of the United States for violating sanctions.

The website of the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network has said that Mr. Rezaian, who has been The Post’s Tehran bureau chief since 2012 but has been living in that country on and off since 2003, was arrested on charges of spying on Iran’s nuclear program and of collecting information about sanctions violations.

“He began to identify individuals and companies that violated sanctions and were cooperating with Iran,” the network said on its website. “The information that Rezaian gave to the Americans had led many Iranian and international businessmen and companies to be included in America’s sanctions list.”

It is unclear if those accusations were addressed in the verdict. Mr. Rezaian’s brother, Ali, said in a statement on Monday that the family was unable to determine the status of his case.

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SOURCE: THOMAS ERDBRINK
The New York Times

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