MidEast

Top Iranian Leaders Justify Arrest of WaPo Reporter

On Friday, The Washington Post reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered no new details about Iranian-American Post reporter Jason Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, in an interview last week with Ann Curry of NBC.

Rouhani declined to offer details on the condition of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who was detained about two months ago on unspecified charges.

“Are you surprised that a person in the legal procedures have been investigated because of some accusations? I am confident that the Iranian judicial system within the framework of the rules and justice will follow up the cases,” Rouhani told Curry, through an interpreter.

The Post also reported that Rezaian’s brother Ali released a statement stating that the Iranians  “have conducted a two-month-long investigation from which they have produced no evidence of wrongdoing by either Jason or Yeganeh.”

On Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on remarks Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made about Rezaian.

“Whatever he has done, and I’m not in a position, nor do I have information to share with you about what his charges are, but whatever he has done, he has done as an Iranian citizen, not as an American citizen. And he is facing interrogation in Iran for what he has done as an Iranian citizen,” Zarif said. …

“His lawyers know. He knows his charge. I’m not supposed to know, but he knows his charge,” Zarif said.

Zarif was also quoted as saying that the charges against Rezaian are “serious.”

Though often described as moderates, neither Rouhani nor Zarif condemned the arrest of the reporter on unpublicized charges. Rezaian’s family in America has had no contact with him and is concerned about his health.

Rezaian and his wife were arrested in July. According to a human rights group, the couple’s apartment “looked like a scene from hell” after the arrest.

Last week, human rights expert Irwin Cotler observed that even though Rouhani has been described as a moderate, Iran has continued “massive repression” during his time in office, including continued assaults on a free press.

[Photo: Firouzan Films / YouTube ]