Iran's foreign minister says Tehran is seeking a solution to the case of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. The remarks come amid a slight warming of ties between Tehran and Washington following a nuclear deal.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the official news agency IRNA on Saturday that his government wants to find a fair way to deal with the case of Rezaian, who has been in jail for more than a year on espionage charges.
"We try to resolve the case from a humanitarian point of view," Zarif said. "But the changes are serious and it is a judicial process," he added.
On October 12, Iran's judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, said the 39-year-old Washington Post journalist had been convicted by a Revolutionary Court, but didn't provide details on the verdict. Ejehi told the Iranian state news agency ISNA that Rezaian and his lawyer could appeal the conviction within 20 days.
Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered to release US prisoners in Iran in exchange for Iranians incarcerated in the US, but Iran's judiciary rejected the idea.
Rezaian, the Tehran bureau chief of "The Washington Post," was accused of charges including spying for the US and producing anti-Iranian propaganda. He was said to have passed on insider information to the White House through a female US journalist, resulting in his arrest and detention at Tehran's infamous Evin prison. The journalist has denied the allegations, saying he was only doing his job as a journalist.
Ties between Iran and the US have been improving following a nuclear deal between Tehran and the world powers in July.
'Vague and puzzling'
Commenting on last week's verdict against Rezaian, Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron said the "vague and puzzling statement" from Iran "only adds to the injustice that has surrounded Jason's case since his arrest 15 months ago."
"Jason is a victim - arrested without cause, held for months in isolation, without access to a lawyer, subjected to physical mistreatment and psychological abuse," Baron said.
Rezaian's brother, Ali Rezaian, accused Iranian authorities of "an unconscionable pattern ... of silence, obfuscation, delay and a total lack of adherence to international law, as well as Iranian law."
Rights groups and journalists' associations have also called for Rezaian to be freed.
shs/ (AP, AFP)