Iran Frees Reporter, 3 Other Jailed Americans In Prisoner Swap: Reports

Photo: Vahid Salemi/AP Photo.
American journalist Jason Rezaian.
Update: Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and two other American citizens who were released from jail in Iran were were flown out of Tehran on Sunday. The Washington Post reports that the three men were expected to go to Switzerland and then a U.S. military facility in Germany, where they'll be examined by medical personnel.

One of the Americans, Nosratollah ­Khosravi-Roodsari, did not fly out with the others, according to U.S. officials.

“We can confirm that our detained U.S. citizens have been released and that those who wished to depart Iran have left,” a senior administration official told The Washington Post. “We have no further information to share at this time and would ask that everyone respect the privacy of these individuals and their families.”
Update January 16, 8:58 a.m.: Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and three other American citizens jailed in Iran are being freed as part of a prisoner swap, the Post reported Saturday, citing Iranian state media. Rezaian has been detained since July 2014. Two of the other prisoners identified by the Post, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati and pastor Saeed Abedini, had been in prison since 2012.

All three reportedly hold dual citizenship in the U.S. and Iran. The United States has not confirmed the agreement. The news comes as representatives from Iran, the United States, and other countries meet in Vienna for an update on whether Iran is complying with last year's major agreement to scale back its nuclear program. Iran's foreign minister has said that he expects sanctions against the country to be lifted in response to its progress, according to the BBC.

This story, which was also updated on October 13, 2015, to reflect a guilty verdict,
was originally published on October 9, 2015.
An American journalist who has been held in Iran for more than a year has been convicted following a trial on espionage-related charges.

The guilty verdict against the Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, reported Monday by the Post and other U.S. outlets following state-run media reports in Iran, was immediately condemned by the paper. Martin Baron, executive editor of the Post, called the decision "an outrageous injustice."

“Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this case, but never more so than with this indefensible decision by a Revolutionary Court to convict an innocent journalist of serious crimes after a proceeding that unfolded in secret, with no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing,” Baron said in a statement.

The exact charges and sentence were not immediately clear. But Baron said the paper is working with Rezaian's family and lawyers to appeal. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid also weighed in on Monday, saying he will write to Iran's president to ask for an appeal, the Post reported.

Rezaian had been detained in Iran for 444 days as of October 9 — the same length of time dozens of Americans were held during the Iran hostage crisis that concluded in 1981, his employer reported this week.

Jason is innocent, and he deserves to be freed immediately.

Martin Baron, The Washington Post
Rezaian, the paper's Iran correspondent, was arrested along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, on July 22, 2014. While Salehi was released last year, Rezaian has remained behind bars. On a website tracking his detainment, his family says he has been held in Iran longer than any other Western journalist.

Rezaian, who is from Northern California but reportedly has dual American-Iranian citizenship, eventually faced charges of espionage and other crimes in a closed trial that ended several months ago, according to The New York Times.

The Post
called Friday's marker "a milestone significant in its injustice."

"We again call on Iran to release Jason without further delay. Jason has been subjected to a secret, sham trial, solitary confinement, relentless interrogations, physical mistreatment, and psychological abuse. His trial concluded almost two months ago, yet still no verdict has been rendered. That he has been imprisoned as long as those taken during the hostage crisis decades ago should be cause for shame and outrage," executive editor Martin Baron said in a statement published by the paper.

"Jason is innocent, and he deserves to be freed immediately," he added.

As of December 2014, Rezaian was one of 221 journalists known to be jailed worldwide, according to the Committee to Project Journalists. The figure is the second-highest it's been since the independent nonprofit organization began keeping track in 1990.

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