Rezaian, 38 and an Iranian and American dual national, was arrested July 22, along with his Iranian wife, journalist Yeganeh Salehi. Another photojournalist and her husband were detained at the same time and have since been released.
Officials have offered very few details on the conditions of Rezaian and Salehi. Rouhani’s comments came just days after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told NPR that Rezaian is “facing interrogation in Iran for what he has done as an Iranian citizen.”
The comments from both Rouhani and Zarif emphasize that the judiciary is treating Rezaian as an Iranian national.
A Tehran Province Justice Department official confirmed the arrest days after it took place, saying a Washington Post reporter “has been detained for some questions and after technical investigations, the judiciary will provide details on the issue.”
Zarif said that Rezaian’s lawyers “know his charge. He knows his charge.” Rezaian’s family, however, has insisted that he hasn’t had access to a lawyer.
In a statement, Rezaian’s older brother Ali has said that officials “have conducted a two-month-long investigation from which they have produced no evidence of wrongdoing by either Jason or Yeganeh.”
“Neither I nor my mother have been permitted any communication with Jason,” Ali added. “We remain concerned about their health and implore the Iranian authorities to release them in compliance with Iran’s existing laws and constitution.”
In the NBC interview Rouhani also said there “is no problem for all the prisoners of Iran,” regardless of whether they work for The Washington Post or another media outlet. “The important thing for us is the laws, rules and regulations, and these regulations will be implemented for all the prisoners. The president is responsible for executing carefully the constitution of our country.”
The Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron, has said newspaper officials are “profoundly concerned” for the well-being of Rezaian and the others in custody.
“Unfortunately, we have received no information about Jason’s whereabouts, his condition, or any allegations that might be made against him,” Baron has said in a statement.
Here is the entire exchange between Curry and Rouhani:
Curry: Why have Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh, been detained for almost two months? And what is your administration doing to try and resolve their cases?Rouhani: There are a lot of prisoners in the world, and there are a number of Iranians imprisoned by the Americans. Probably there are people who are in prison in Iran, and of course the people who you named and who you referred to are Iranian nationals, and perhaps there are people detained for security or non-security reasons have been detained within the framework of the Iranian judiciary. They may be investigated, and the judicial process may be completed about them. 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.Curry: Can you speak at all to their condition if they are in good condition, or… because their families are very concerned, and one of them is also an American citizen. Can you speak at all to how soon this might be resolved?Rouhani: What I have been always pursuing as the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran and I always question and I also ask the minister of justice, who is one of my cabinet ninisters, I have always been following up these issues. And of course there is no problem for all the prisoners of Iran. It doesn’t make any difference for us if this prisoner has The Washington Post or this prisoner is working for whichever media outlet. The important thing for us is the laws, rules and regulations, and these regulations will be implemented for all the prisoners. The president is responsible for executing carefully the constitution of our country.
And here is the interview in its entirety. Rouhani addresses the Rezaian case around the 41-minute mark: