Authorities in Iran announcedon Sunday that the American journalist Jason Rezaian, a Washington Postreporter held by the government for 16 months and charged with espionage, hadbeen sentenced to prison. The Iranian government made the announcementwith as much transparency as it has shown in this case all along: none.
The prosecution of Mr.Rezaian, a well-respected journalist of Iranian ancestry with dual citizenship,has been a travesty since he and his wife were detained in July 2014. Theauthorities have failed to present a shred of credible evidence that Mr.Rezaian broke any law and they have deprived him of due process. Recentsuggestions by senior Iranian officials that he could be swapped for peopleimprisoned for violating sanctions against Iran strongly suggest that the caseagainst him was a farce all along.
By detaining himarbitrarily, Iran is sending a troubling message to the international communityas it starts carrying out the landmarkdeal it reached with world powers over the future of its nuclear program.Western officials hoped that the nuclear agreement would usher in a new era ofbroader cooperation with Iran. But as they begin taking steps to ease economicsanctions on Iran, as called for in the deal, the treatment of Mr. Rezaian hasintensified their concerns about whether Iran can be trusted to fulfill itsnuclear commitments.
The fate of the threeAmericans imprisoned in Iran is one measurement. In addition to Mr. Rezaian,two other Iranian-Americans are being unfairly detained. Saeed Abedini, apastor, is serving an eight-year sentence afterhaving been convicted of harming national security by holding Bible classes inprivate homes.Amir Hekmati, a former Marine, isserving a 10-year sentence after the judiciary convicted him of aiding ahostile government.
Throughout the “negotiations” with Iran, countless groups in the USA begged President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to include Mr. Razaian, Pastor Abedini, Mr. Hekmati – and Robert Levinson, who was kidnapped from Kish Island, which is next to Iran, in 2007 and is generally thought to be held by the Iranis.