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Washington Post reporter faces spy trial in Iran

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian has been jailed in Iran and faces four charges, including espionage. The newspaper has called the accusations, which also include disseminating propaganda, absurd.

Lawyer Leilah Ahsan, who represents reporter Jason Rezaian, told the Washington Post on Monday that the newspaper's Tehran correspondent faces charges of conducting propaganda against the establishment, collaborating with hostile governments and collecting information about internal and foreign policy and providing them to individuals with malicious intent.

The Washington Post's 39-year-old Tehran correspondent was detained on July 22 last year along with his Iranian wife, who was later released on bail. Jason Rezaian was born in the United States, where he spent most of his life. He holds both American and Iranian citizenship, but Iran does not recognize dual nationalities for its citizens.

"It is absurd and despicable to assert, as Iran's judiciary is now claiming, that Jason's work first as a freelance reporter and then as The Post's Tehran correspondent amounted to espionage," the newspaper's executive editor Martin Baron said on Monday.

Baron called for the reporter to be able to add lawyers of his own choosing to his defense team. He added that a just trial could only result in Rezaian's "exoneration and immediate release."

The US State Department stated on Monday it had no official confirmation of charges being filed in Iran against Jason Rezaian. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said it would be "patently absurd" if reports of espionage charges against Rezaian are true.

das/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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