A Washington Post editorial called out the Iranian government for going against its own laws in keeping Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian imprisoned and failing to deliver a timely verdict in his espionage trial, which concluded on Aug. 10.
Iranian law says a verdict must be issued within a week of a trial’s conclusion. It also says no suspect may be held for more than one year without conviction. Yet Mr. Rezaian remained in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison on Monday, 405 days after his arrest, and no verdict in his case has been announced. His lawyer says she does not know why; she speculates that a verdict may have been issued but not revealed even to her.
The paper went further, linking the politicization of the case to the Iranian nuclear negotiations, citing analysts’ contentions that Rezaian’s trial was a tool in an internal struggle between Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and regime hard-liners. “If that is true,” stated the editorial, “then the fact that Mr. Rezaian remains imprisoned, in violation of Iran’s laws, suggests that [chief negotiator Mohammad Javad] Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani have been unable to gain control over factions whose cooperation will be essential if the nuclear deal is to be successfully implemented.”
In the troubling build-up to Rezaian’s verdict, the Iranian court sentenced two people on Sunday to 10 years in jail after finding them guilty of spying on the United States and Israel. Their names have not been released, leaving the possibility that Rezaian could be one of them.