Likely backlash in Iran also affecting filmmakers
Washington Post Tehran Bureau Chief Jason Rezaian has been convicted by an Iranian court to an unspecified amount of prison time, in the latest development in the California native’s case which is considered closely connected with conservative opposition within Iran to its recent landmark nuclear agreement.
Iranian State news agency IRNA reported on Sunday that Rezaian, who is already behind bars in Tehran’s Evin prison, has been sentenced to a prison term, after being convicted of espionage in October during a closed-doors trial.
“Serving a jail term is in Jason Rezaian’s sentence but I cannot give details”, IRNA quoted a judiciary spokesman as telling local journalists during a news conference in Tehran.
Rezaian, 39, is a dual citizen of the United States and Iran. He was arrested in July 2014 and charged with spying on Iran’s nuclear program and also of gathering information about companies that were violating international sanctions against Iran.
Rezaian’s lawyer, Leila Ahsan, told The Associated Press that she had not been given any information about the sentencing, or about the verdict.
Martin Baron, The Post’s executive editor, on Sunday Tweeted: “No details. Lawyer told nothing. Opaque system persists in its cruelty.”
In what is considered another possible sign of a backlash on the part of Iranian hard-liners against more progressive forces in the country, albeit in the cultural sphere, in mid-October Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi was sentenced to six years in jail and 223 lashes for his film “Writing on the City,” about political graffiti spanning the period from the 1979 Islamic Revolution through Iran’s contested 2009 election. Though sentenced, Karimi remains free pending appeal.
On November 4 anti-American Iranians burned U.S. and Israeli flags outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran (pictured), to mark the 36th anniversary of when it was stormed by student protesters, triggering the 1979 hostage crisis.