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Oct 6, 2014 3:43 AM

Iran frees wife of jailed Washington Post reporter

The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Iran has released the wife of a Washington Post reporter after arresting the two journalists in July, her newspaper and officials said Monday.

Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National said Yeganeh Salehi, 30, was released on bail late last week, while her husband, Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, 38, remains in detention. The newspaper cited Ali Rezaian, Jason's brother, for that information, and quoted him as saying that the two were "physically healthy" and that Salehi had been allowed to visit her husband recently. Jason Rezaian has American and Iranian citizenship.

The two were detained along with two other journalists on July 22. The two other reporters were later freed. Iranian officials have not said why the four were detained. Officials were not available for comment on the reported release. Iran's official IRNA news agency put out a brief report quoting an unidentified official as saying Salehi had been freed, without providing details.

Ali Rezaian said neither Salehi nor her family in Tehran would be speaking to the press and asked that their privacy be respected, according to the newspaper. It also cited him as saying that Salehi is no longer allowed to work as a journalist in Iran, without providing further details.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki welcomed the release, and declined to comment further "out of respect for the privacy of her and her family."

"We, of course, continue to call on the Iranian authority government to immediately release all of our detained U.S. citizens in Iran, including of course Mr. Amir Hekmati and Mr. Saeed Abedini," she said. Abedini, a Christian pastor, has been in Iranian custody since September 2012 and is serving an eight-year sentence for undermining state security. During a trial in January, he was convicted of trying to establish a network of Christian churches in private homes. Hekmati is a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran since his arrest three years ago on spying charges.

"Our focus is doing everything possible to secure their return, but I don't have any updates," Psaki said.

President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate elected last year on promises to engage with the West, has vowed to expand freedom of expression in Iran. But he has faced stiff resistance from hard-liners in the government who fear that liberalization would undermine the Islamic Republic.


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