A Washington Post reporter who has been in detention for more than four months in Iran was charged Saturday, but what charges he was handed were unclear.
Jason Rezaian, the Post’s Tehran reporter and bureau chief, was detained in July.
Quoting “a source familiar with the case,” the Washington Post reported that the court proceeding extended for 10 hours and that “the nature of the charges was not immediately clear, at least to those not present in the courtroom.”
The Post further reported that though Rezaian’s family has hired an attorney, the lawyer still has not been allowed to visit him.
Rezaian holds both American and Iranian citizenship, according to previous news reports on his case.
In a statement issued Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. is “deeply disappointed and concerned” about the reports that the reporter was charged, that he was not allowed to see his attorney and that his request for bail was denied.
“I am personally dismayed and disturbed at these reports as I have repeatedly raised Jason's case, and the other cases of detained or missing U.S. citizens, directly with Iranian officials,” Kerry said. The issue was likely raised when Kerry met Iranian officials during negotiations over curbing Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
Kerry noted that the Iranian government denied “repeated” U.S. government requests for Jason to meet with Swiss consular officials, who represent U.S. interests in Iran.
The Washington Post quoted an unnamed source who reported that though Rezaian does not read Farsi, he signed a document Saturday stating he understood the charges against him.
Once a trial date is set in about a month, “theoretically” the reporter’s lawyer would be allowed to meet his client and review the charges, the Post’s source said.
“The proceedings appear to dash any hope that Rezaian could be freed in the near future,” the Post observed.
Kerry said, “We call on the Iranian government to drop any and all charges against Jason and release him immediately so that he can be reunited with his family.”
“Likewise, we again call for the release of U.S. citizens Amir Hekmati and Saeed Abedini, and ask for the Iranian government's cooperation in locating Robert Levinson, so that all may be returned to their families,” the secretary of state added.