“The outcome of the nuclear deal does not change Jason’s cruel and illegal imprisonment for the past 356 days,” his brother, Ali Rezaian, said in a statement Tuesday. He added: “We are hopeful that with agreement now in place the Iranian courts will conclude this process swiftly and affirm Jason’s innocence so we can bring him home and make our family whole once again.”
In a separate statement, Martin Baron, executive editor of The Post, called on Iran to “deliver a fair and impartial judgment in Jason’s case, one that could only result in his acquittal and immediate release.”
“It is important to remember that Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent, remains in an Iranian prison despite the international accord announced Tuesday on Iran’s nuclear program,” Baron said.
At a White House news conference Wednesday, Obama was asked by CBS News correspondent Major Garrett: “Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?”
The president responded: “The notion that I am content, as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails — Major, that’s nonsense. And you should know better. I’ve met with the families of some of those folks; nobody’s content.”
Obama added that “our diplomats, our teams, are working diligently to try to get them out.”
Rezaian’s third court hearing was held Monday in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, his attorney told The Post. The lawyer, Leila Ahsan, is barred by Iranian authorities from giving further details about the closed-door session, but she told the journalist’s family that “Jason was in good spirits and answered some questions about the charges.”
In his statement Tuesday, Ali Rezaian said: “Jason is completely innocent of all charges and it is inhumane for him to still be held behind bars after nearly a year. He was a journalist doing his job and today he should be reporting on the details of this agreement rather than being subjected to continued incarceration and delays in the judicial proceedings.”
The family remains “appreciative” of the U.S. government’s ongoing efforts on “behalf of Jason and the other Americans being held in Iran,” Ali Rezaian said.
No date has been set for Jason Rezaian’s next hearing. He is charged with espionage and distributing propaganda against the Islamic republic.
Rezaian, his Iranian wife and two photojournalists were detained July 22, 2014, in Tehran. His wife, Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, was later released on bail. One of the photojournalists also faces charges related to the case.
The claims against Rezaian, 39, appear to include a visit he made to a U.S. consulate seeking a visa for his wife and a letter he wrote seeking a job in the Obama administration in 2008 — material that was apparently taken from his confiscated laptop.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry has hinted that the nuclear deal, which will not go into effect until it is verified that Iran has met its terms, could lead to broader contacts between the United States and Iran. The two countries have had no direct diplomatic relations since April 1980, when ties were severed as a result of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by militants supporting the 1979 Islamic revolution.
“Confidence is never built overnight. It has to be built over time,” Kerry said in Vienna just hours after the nuclear accord was reached.
In addition to Rezaian, at least two other Americans are being held in Iran: Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor imprisoned there for conducting Bible studies, and Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine accused of spying. Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent, disappeared in Iran in 2007, but his whereabouts are not clear.
Brian Murphy and Carol Morello contributed to this report, which has been updated since it was first published on July 14.