Mother of Washington Post reporter speaks of bail hope

Rezaian, the newspaper’s Tehran Correspondent, was detained in the capital almost one year ago

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The mother of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, on trial in Iran for espionage, told reporters outside a Tehran court Monday that she hopes he will be freed on bail.

Rezaian, the newspaper’s Tehran Correspondent, was detained in the capital almost one year ago in a case that has paralleled with Iran’s nuclear talks with world powers led by the United States.

The diplomacy is now approaching its endgame in Vienna.

Rezaian, a dual Iranian-American citizen, is accused of spying for the United States by collecting confidential information, cooperating with hostile governments and disseminating propaganda against Iran.

The 39-year-old reporter’s family has said he is being used as a pawn in an internal political power struggle related to the nuclear talks.

His mother Mary, as at past hearings, was not allowed into the trial’s third session but she was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying she believed the reporter could be granted bail.

She did not know when the trial would resume, according to the brief media report. A judiciary spokesman said a date would be announced later.

Rezaian denies the spying accusations. His lawyer, Leila Ahsan, has said there is “no proof” in the case file but her past requests for bail have been refused.

The journalist’s fate has been shrouded in secrecy since he was arrested along with his wife Yeganeh Salehi, also a journalist, at home in Tehran on July 22 last year.

Salehi was released on bail after two-and-a-half months in custody and she was present alongside Rezaian’s mother outside court on Monday.

During the last session of the trial on June 8, the journalist was given his first opportunity to defend himself.

The US has criticised the trial’s “complete lack of transparency”, and says Tehran should drop the “absurd” spying charges that Rezaian’s brother called “laughable”.

However, Iran does not recognise dual nationality and says the case is purely a matter for the Tehran judiciary.

Rezaian’s relatives have frequently expressed fears for his health, citing his need for medication to combat high blood pressure.

The California-born journalist -- his late father was Iranian -- is one of four Americans that President Barack Obama has urged Iran to return home.

The others are pastor Saeed Abedini, in jail for more than two years after being convicted of undermining national security, and former US Marine Amir Hekmati, who is serving 10 years for cooperating with hostile governments.

A fourth US citizen, retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, went missing in southern Iran eight years ago.

AFP Tehran

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