By Brian Murphy
The Washington Post
An Iranian court opened a third hearing Monday for a Washington Post journalist facing charges that include espionage in a trial that has drawn sharp criticism from press freedom groups and the State Department.
Iran’s official IRNA news agency said the closed-door session was held in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court for Jason Rezaian, the Tehran bureau chief for The Post, who has been detained for nearly a year.
The IRNA report gave no additional details of the latest hearing, but Rezaian has strongly denied the Iranian allegations during this detention. Rezaian’s lawyer has been barred from publicly discussing the court proceedings.
Top U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John F. Kerry, have raised concerns about the detention of Rezaian and several other Americans held in Iran. But the issues have remained separate from ongoing talks seeking to limit Tehran’s nuclear program.
Rezaian, his Iranian-born wife and two photojournalists were detained on July 22, 2014, in Tehran. Authorities later allowed the release on bail for his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi. A photojournalist also faces charges related to the case.
The claims against Rezaian, 39, appear to include a visit he made to a U.S. Consulate seeking a visa for his wife and a letter he wrote seeking a job in the new Obama administration in 2008 — material that was apparently taken from his confiscated laptop.