Jan 28, 2015 5:42 AM

Report: Iran says Washington Post writer to face trial soon

The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) A Washington Post journalist detained in Iran for months will stand trial "soon," the Islamic Republic's official news agency reported Wednesday.

The report by the IRNA news agency quoted Gholam Hossein Esmaeili, a senior judicial official. The report did not offer a specific time for the trial to start.

"Jason Rezaian will be tried soon," Esmaeili was quoted as saying.

Rezaian, his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists initially were detained July 22 in Iran's capital, Tehran. All later were released except Rezaian, who is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship. Iran does not recognize dual citizenships

Iranian officials have not announced the charges Rezaian faces. However, they say Rezaian will stand trial in Iran's Revolutionary Court, which mostly hears cases involving security offenses.

Esmaeili said Rezaian "is in touch with his family and allowed meeting." Officials say he has already met his mother twice when she travelled to Iran recently.

Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, called Rezaian's continued imprisonment "appalling and outrageous" in a statement Wednesday.

"We have yet to hear any accounting of any charges against Jason, who after six months in custody, has still not been provided access to a lawyer," Baron said. "A fair and just approach by Iran's judiciary could only result in his immediate release."

The U.S. State Department repeatedly has raised the subject of Rezaian and other Americans jailed in Iran during talks with the government about a deal to curb Iran's nuclear capacity and ease international sanctions.

The U.S. and its partners are hoping to clinch a deal with Iran that would set long-term limits on Iran's enrichment of uranium and other activity that could produce material for use in nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is solely for energy production and medical research purposes. It has agreed to some restrictions in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from U.S. economic sanctions.

Hard-liners in Iran have grown increasingly critical of Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani's efforts at negotiations, though Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly has backed the talks.


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