PHOTO: Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, detained in Tehran since July 2014
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has launched a propaganda assault on Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, detained since July 2014 on espionage charges.
The 7-minute video, circulated on YouTube, claims that Rezaian ran a spy network and passed classified information to American and European officials. It insists that he knew of plans for “sedition” followed the disputed 2009 Presidential election and was part of a US-led operation for regime change.
Rezaian is an Iranian-American national who began reporting inside Iran in 2008, becoming the Post’s correspondent in 2012. He was arrested at his home in Tehran in July 2014, together with his wife Yeganeh Salehi — a reporter for the UAE-based The National — and two other journalists. The other three were eventually released on bail, but Rezaian was held for months without access to a lawyer or information about the charges against him.
On April 20, Rezaian was formally charged with espionage, “acting against the holy Islamic Republic”, and “endangering national security”. There have been three closed-door hearings in his trial, the latest in mid-July.
Iranian media have been barred from reporting on the trial, but they have leaked “evidence” which includes a letter in 2008 from Rezaian to Barack Obama and his relationship with fellow journalist Lara Setrakian, who reported from Dubai before founding the website Syria Deeply.
The Revolutionary Guards’ film does not add any confirmed information. Instead, it attacks Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American journalist who was imprisoned in Iran for three months in early 2009 on charges and espionage, and Maziar Bahari, who worked for Newsweek and Britain’s Channel 4 when he was imprisoned for more than three months after the disputed 2009 Presidential election.