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Iran: Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian convicted of espionage

Iranian state TV has reported that jailed Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian has been found guilty. But details behind the conviction remain unclear.

Iran's judiciary spokesman, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, announced that Washington Post journalist

Jason Rezaian had been convicted

, "but I don't have the verdict's details."

Ejehi told the Iranian state news agency ISNA that Rezaian and his lawyer were eligible to appeal the conviction within 20 days.

"Washington Post"

executive editor Martin Baron said that 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.

'Absurd' charges

Rezaian's lawyer, Leila Ahsan, told the Associated Press news agency on Sunday that there were no new developments and said she had not yet received word of the final verdict.

Jason Rezaian's family

Jason Rezaian’s Mother(Mary Rezaian) and wife (Yeganeh Salehi) have campaigned for his release

Rezaian, the Tehran bureau chief of "The Washington Post", was accused of charges including

spying for the United States

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 39-year-old has denied the allegations, saying he was only doing his job as a journalist.

His 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."

The US government rejected the charges against Rezaian as absurd and called for Rezaian's immediate release while also criticizing his closed-door trial. Rezaian could face between 10 to 20 years in prison for his conviction.

Prisoner swap?

Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had suggested a prisoner swap between Washington and Tehran.

"If we can help free folks who are detained there, and they can take reciprocal steps, we'd welcome that approach," he said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

To date, the US has imprisoned 19 Iranians charged or convicted in connection with violations of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. With the international nuclear sanctions due to be loosened starting in late October, following a deal with Iran in July, there might be a chance for a diplomatic solution in Rezaian's case.

ss/kms (AP, dpa)

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